Gender inequality discussion strikes nerve


I never understood how oblivious some people are to gender inequality until I began my Women in Western Philosophy class.

The majority of our class consists of women, as one would expect, but there are about four men in the class as well.

On the first day of class, we went over usual housekeeping things. We also began talking about gender inequality.

One of the first questions our instructor asked us on that first day was how we viewed gender inequality in our Western society. The majority of the responses that were expressed in class that day were acknowledging of the subject – others were not.

Of the four men who make up our 12-person class, two of them didn’t think gender inequality was a “big deal,” one of them refused to acknowledge that the issue even existed and the other declined to participate in the discussion.

I was flabbergasted and I wasn’t the only one in the class who felt that way – the expressions of some of my classmates revealed that they were feeling similar emotions.

During one of the subsequent classes, we watched Emma Watson’s speech to the United Nations in which she launches the HeForShe initiative, which aims to get men to join the feminist fight for gender equality.

This sparked another discussion in which the class got into a heated argument about the differences between men and women, if there really is a pay gap between the two and whether gender inequality is even an issue in the United States.

The way I felt in that class was a way I had never felt before. I was angered that somebody could have such a strong, hateful opinion, but at the same time, I was intent on educating my classmates on what the issue truly was about and how it affected them too.

I have never felt such strong confliction before. To have somebody who is my peer blatantly tell me that I am not as good as him caused such an uproar of emotions inside me that I wanted to scream.

To have another peer completely discredit something that millions of women across the world are feeling was another emotion in itself.

I wanted to be angry with those men in my class, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t their fault how they felt about this issue. Whether it was the way they were raised, their religious/political beliefs or just never having been taught about the subject, it wasn’t their fault.

I try to remember that not everybody comes from the same background that I have. I try to remember that not everybody feels the same way about things that I do.

My hope for those men in my class is that they will learn something by the time we are finished.

I hope that they can be enlightened and raise awareness wherever possible, so that their wives or their daughters or their sisters never have to feel that they are not good enough, simply because of their gender.

That is something that nobody – man or woman – should have to feel.



[email protected]