Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gender Equality

I am 71 years old. When I was in junior high school (Bala Cynwyd) and high school (Lower Merion) I played the cello in the orchestras and I played the flute for fun because only boys were allowed to be in the bands. I resented the discrimination, but I was young, and didn't know what to do about it except to accept it.

When I was a senior in college (University of Pennsylvania), and had already received an NIMH fellowship for graduate school, I had an interview with the admitting committee for psychology at the U of P. I had already been accepted into Phi Beta Kappa and was graduating with honors and distinction. The only question that I remember from that interview was: "why should we give the spot to you, a woman. You'll just get married and have children and never use the education."

My blood boiled internally, but I will never forget my answer: "because I am smarter than any of the BOYS who have applied."

That ended the interview and they accepted me on the spot.

There has been a lot of progress in these 50 years. Bands are now open to both boys and girls. Women have been elected to strong and powerful political positions in the world. Most of the emphasis for gender equality has appeared in the athletic departments (Title IX has done that). But still, there is discrimination against women when it comes to payment for work. Women make less than men for the same jobs, the same time, energy, and ability invested.

And still, 50 years later, I am struck with the lack of gender equality that has been ingrained forever. In religious services, God is not referred to in gender neutral terms. God is called King, Lord, He, Etc. God could be referred to as Sovereign, Ruler, All=knowing, Etc. This is not an argument I care to pursue at the moment. I think it would be like knocking my head against the wall - you know - it would feel good when I stopped. But maybe someone with a lot of time on her hands and a lot more energy than I have right now will be able to explain how gender neutrality has to be incorporated into every part of life.

1 comment:

  1. Have you seen 3/14/11 Newsweek. Its an amazing issue. So many brave, stubborn, wise and determined women.

    Hillary's fight for Women's rights is inspirational. She'll make a great President.