The Equality Debate and The Woman
At work. A man. A woman.
They are to work 10 days. They are to do the same job. Both are very healthy. Man works all 10 days. Woman works 7 days but has to go do some tests and follow up for 3 days at the hospital because she is pregnant. Man covers for her while away.
How much should each get?
- Work is work. It doesn’t matter if it was done by a man or woman. So each should be paid the same per day. This is the only reasonable and dignified thing to do. I hope that’s a given for all of us.
- That settled, if we’re strictly going by. the daily logs, the woman should be paid for 7 days and the man for 10 days plus some extra for covering for the woman right? I don’t think so.
So here it begins:
When we campaign for equality in the work place, we’re canvassing for equal opportunities and remuneration BASED ON WORK DONE FOR THE ORGANISATION. This makes total sense as the reality today shows that men are paid way way more than women for doing just exactly the same work. I find this completely horrible and unacceptable.
However, when we achieve this equality that we seek, we will end up in another extreme. We will still have women being left behind and not able to take advantage of these opportunities or get equal pay because there are other factors at play beyond the woman’s powers.
Creationist or Evolutionist, we’re all agreed that Men don’t get pregnant. Women do. Also, men do not have a menstrual cycle which have different reactions in women from mild discomfort to, in some rare cases, such pains that they may not be able to go about their normal daily functions.
So if at the work place, she skips a few days or months due to pregnancy and a day or two due to issues relating to her cycle, then we will simply have the man more at work than the woman. He will clock more hours than the woman and even though they are on the same daily wage, he will earn more than she does in the end.
Also, when opportunities come, even though the man and woman are both fairly and equally considered, it will only be natural to think of the man first because he would have been more consistent at work and therefore more reliable for bigger roles.
So we end up where we began. Only slightly different. Same wage but men still earn more and men take most of the opportunities.
This is why I fault the equality debate.
What is my proposition?
Let’s not look from the point of needing equality. Let’s look from the point of understanding and appreciating the overall and ultimate importance of each gender and factor this appreciation into our systems.
A pregnant woman is not only doing her family a favour. She is doing ALL OF US in the world a great favour. She’s giving hope to the world with every single child she gifts us. She’s the reason we’re very hopeful because we know a better woman/man may have just been born. Her cycle only relates in the same way: that she is indeed a potential channel through which the future builders are gifted to our world.
How therefore does this understanding and appreciation influence anything?
A. We legislate and enforce that every single day she’s off work for pregnancy/birth related issues, she must be paid her full wage as she’s doing more than a company service at that time. She’s, in that moment, at the service of the ENTIRE WORLD and the company as a tiny part of the world, benefits from this.
B. That having cramps during her period is not a disease or an ailment. It is one of the great and dignified sacrifices committed to her for ALL OF US. Therefore, if she is off for those days, she should also be paid in full.
C. That anyone covering for a woman in this period should not require or expect an added allowance to their pay as it is a call to support and appreciate such a significant phase going on in the life of the person they cover for.
D. That when opportunities come up, the woman’s capacity should only be judged for the period she wasn’t on maternity or related leave.
E. That we develop a corporate culture that accommodates the uniqueness of the woman and allows her to compete with a truly fair chance. E.g,
I. Have a crèche included in office designs so she’s not distracted with worry over the baby.
II. Have and allow women take breaks so that they’re able to breastfeed or cater to their tiny beauties.
III. Being open as a people to moving or postponing a meeting if the woman, who is a boss or an important part of the team, for reasons beyond her, cannot make the meeting at the earlier agreed time.
Someone will say time waits for no man and that the point ‘III’ here is impractical but to that I say, you should see how religiously ‘smoking time’ is recognised and provided for around the world. Even in the midst of the most important conversations in high level meetings, folks would still insist and have their ‘smoking time’. Smoking time of course does not take as much time as a postponed meeting but I’m certain you get my sincere point: if we think it is important, we will make space for it.
Can women abuse these privileges? Yes
Can we have systems to check them? YES
For me, it shouldn’t be so much about men and women being the same or equal.
I honestly do not think men and women are the same. I also do not see why they must be equal. I think they are different in their glory and beauty so apple must not compare with the orange.
It should be about clearly noting and appreciating the beauty that each person brings to the table and collectively taking responsibility for it.
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday, you will join us…”(song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono -Imagine)