It’s time for Gender Equity

Women and men are different.

This is not news. We are shaped differently. There are many other, often subtle, differences between us. For thousands of years the differences have engendered inequity, with no justification.

We were created equal, though men and women were given different responsibilities in caring for the family. Generally, men provide support and protection and women provide nurturing.

God gave each person equal responsibility for behavior. We are given freedom to make choices. The ability to make choices includes the obligation to accept the consequences of our behavior. Men and women equally choose and accept consequences for individual actions.

Ages ago, at a time in our dark history, for whatever reason, someone decided women were less than men. It could have been because women gathered together, maintaining knowledge. Some man may have desired power. Some priest felt threatened. It doesn’t matter. It happened. And it has continued.

Women have attempted to redress the inequities, seeking rights not just similar to men, but exactly the same. It took years of battling to receive even the right to vote, much less the right to own property and be something more than chattel property.

Many years later, the struggle persists. Pay for the same work is still much less for women. Men are allowed to stand up for themselves, while women who do this are considered bossy. Women drop out of sports fearing the appearance of masculinity. Men claim a right to ogle, touch, or verbally disrespect women in their presence. Women remain targets of sexualization, rape and brutality.

This week Emma Watson spoke to the United Nations about the issue of gender equity, addressing these needs. Additionally, she commented on the challenge men face because of this long held attitude.

Watson reminded us that men suffer, unable to discuss their problems, unable to ask for help. Young men commit suicide at a greater rate than other causes of death.

Emma Watson said:

I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are. When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

Many men support the women in their choices, honorably treating them as equals. Women allow their men to express their inner feelings. These actions appear to occur in private situations. Publicly, support and equity happens less often. No country in the world treats men and women equally. Too many young women are not allowed freedom to control their own lives, educate themselves, or feel safe in a crowd, in our country or any other country in the world. Too many men fear to share sensitivities, are disparaged because the respect and honor women, or find themselves compelled to participate in ribald and disrespectful actions toward women.

This must change.

How do you think this can happen? Do you have other examples of gender inequity? Please share your thoughts.

Work Over Welfare

Most days a comment is found on social media suggesting the need for everyone to work to earn their keep. Frequently, a commenter will express a need to work in order to pay for others to live.

Since the last economic crash, many hard workers are left jobless. Employers don’t trust them to be the same honest employees they were before the crash and their subsequent loss of employment. After six months of unemployment, many human resource departments ignore these workers without serious contemplation. Regardless of past performance and education, loss of employment eliminates them from the viable job seeker pool.

Is it any wonder many of these previously successful men and women whose unemployment benefits are used depend on government food supplements, welfare, and medical support?

Many who are lucky enough to continue in employment since the last crash believe the crush of supporting the now unemployable is on their shoulders. And the burden is theirs, if they are part the shrinking middle class. Good people lost homes, families, and reputations because of factors beyond their control.

How will we overcome this debilitating circumstance?

It does not help to denigrate the jobless, though they may have lost all hope for positive position. Some lost all hope.

Greed and selfishness are rampant. Those without work, without hope, demand from those who are employed and filled with hope for success. “Surely the wealthy should give of their substance to the poor,” they cry. But, why would the wealthy or the middle class continue to seek success if all they do is pass that success off to the jobless? All that ever does is lead to a median level of poverty, and destroy the desire to achieve.

How is this to be solved?

Among the first commandments given to man was the command to work, to earn a living “by the sweat of the brow.” No longer could Adam and Eve pluck life from trees. They were required to learn, to experiment, and to work. It was not easy for them. Life is not easy for families. Men and women worked to develop the land, grow food, and domesticate animals.

In the past century we live an apparent life of ease. Electricity is our slave; machines do the heavy work once forced upon our ancestors. The individual energy expended to provide for a family is significantly less, but we are still commanded to work, to earn life “by the sweat of our brow.”

Is this the answer? Allow men and women the right to develop the dignity that comes from honest labor. Rather than give people money and things, give them the opportunity to work and rebuild confidence and lost reputations. Regardless of public opinion, people prefer to work, to provide for themselves and family.

I call on employers of big and small businesses to lift the ban on hiring those who lost jobs because of the economic slowdown, and have not worked for more than six months. Give people a chance to regain self-respect and dignity.

Pollutions Fill the Earth

Pollutions fill the earth!

Pollutions assault our eyes and minds each day. Trash lies along roadsides. Smoke and smog assault our eyes and noses. Light crowds out any ability to discern the stars. The earth struggles to maintain appropriate temperatures for our benefit. Oceans are clogged with man’s refuse. Even our land fills are crowded with plastics, diapers, paper, and other slow decaying matter, some of which can be recycled. Forests and ecosystems are overtaken and destroyed by men whose goal is wealth and control.

Children, adults, and large institutions address these issues daily. No public school class is complete without a discussion of the problem of pollution. And it is a challenge requiring much effort.

Other types of pollutions destroy our sensibilities. These are personal and individual pollutions, causing danger to self and others near us, pollutions of dress and language. A total lack of propriety prevails.

Skirts, shorts, and tops have long been shrinking, showing more and covering less. Decent women did not wear them, however. Only girls and women in television and movies and advertisements, and the women we hoped our men left alone—those on the street corners, advertising themselves.

During the past decade or two, this has changed. The prevailing attitudes of clothing designers declare less is best in fashion. Glimpses of bodies normally covered and protected are becoming the norm. Sex sells. Men and women are taught provocative wear is sexy in places other than the bedroom.

Female movie stars compete in showing more of their bodies, covering less and finding shock and admiration from the media. Rather than hide the nakedness, it is exposed on the news and internet for all.

Women are not alone in their state of undress. Men shred t-shirts and jeans, exposing sometimes muscled bodies. Some remove shirts entirely, as though a bare chest on a man is acceptable anywhere away from the beach or a swimming pool. Others, in an attempt to entice, unbutton many buttons near the neck. It is scary when the man is overweight or extremely hairy.

Worse, young men sag their pants, often wearing two or three pair of boxer shorts to try to cover, usually unsuccessfully! Few really want to view bare buttocks or lots of boxers.

True sexiness, true beauty is found in a covered body. Save your body for the one you love. Don’t share everything with everyone! Women and men who cover modestly also show greater respect for themselves and others.

Foul language permeates the lives of many. Children spew words only sailors used not many years ago. This occurs in classrooms of children as young as pre-school. Toddlers repeat language used by parents that at one time brought out the soap. The media is saturated with foul language and actions. It is not a surprise our youngest children repeat obscenities.

Add to the foul language a total lack of respect, for themselves or others. Rudeness prevails. Each person believes themselves to be of greater importance than any others. No one else in in as great a need or hurry as the one shoving in front of all others. This happens everywhere, though often visible in store lines and along road construction sites. Certainly, you can describe many more instances of selfish behavior.

Most egregious for me is the total lack of respect for my God. Too few worship God, or gods, thinking the name of the Savior of our world is a simple curse. Those of us who still consider the names sacred are deeply offended, often without recourse. Any suggestion of concern is mocked and ignored.

Am I alone in my concerns for dress and language pollution? Share with me what else pollutes your world.

Families, Traditions, and Choices

Parents have always wanted the best for their children. We want them to be beautiful, healthy, and prosperous. We’d like them to be more successful than us. Children want to be more prosperous than their parents. They desire greater success than their parents found. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t.

Throughout history parents have also been saddened when children have left the values held dear. Children become enthralled by foreign ideas, becoming lost to family ways of life and culture. A glance at the past century will illustrate the point.

Cities enticed young people away from the farms and mores of families from the country. A desire for easy living seduced them from the solid values parents believed in from their childhood. Later, things like cars, alcohol, and women beguiled children from standards parents felt were important.

Of course, parents do not begrudge a child’s success. Long ago, children were tied to the land, or required to continue the occupation of their fathers, regardless of the desires or talents of the young. These parents were cheered by any growth and improvement beyond their own. Great stories rarely come from a son continuing in his father’s livelihood. It is when the son or daughter break away and try new things that wonderful tales are shared.

Sometimes, the breaking away from childhood ethics and teachings cause parents great sorrow. The beliefs of a parent are deeply held, not given up because the world changes around them. Through time, a child leaving the religion of their parents has been a time of grief.

Eve felt heartache when her children chose to leave the faith she and Adam learned from their God in the Garden of Eden. Many children chose the darkness of the destroyer rather than the light of the gospel. Since then, this has been a source of sorrow for believing parents of all sects.

When I wrote Eve Remembers, I imagined the following conversation between Eve and her beloved Adam:

  “How did we lose them? We taught them.” I stood and began to pace.

“We taught them,” Adam said, his voice soothing. “Remember, they must have agency to choose, or we will be giving in to Lucifer’s plan. He wants us to force them to obey. We cannot. We must trust that they will return to the light.”

“I know.” I stopped pacing and stood in front of him, looking into his brilliant blue eyes. “I thought the sorrow of children would be in giving birth. Now I find that it comes as they make choices we would rather they would not. It is so much harder now, just watching, not able do anything.”

Today, parents continue to struggle with the sorrow of a child’s rejection of long held beliefs and traditions. Some manage to stay close, glad the child has found joy in the new found religion. Others become estranged, refusing to speak to each other.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find common ground, building trust and love amongst loved ones?

Child Birth is “Worth It”

I shared a post on Facebook today, a picture with words describing a mother’s love for her child. The post shares the love we as mothers feel for our children long before they are born. It also suggests we may make mistakes, but we try our best, and will always love our children forever.

It’s true. We love our children long before we see them, often before we are aware of their movements. Even my unexpected child was loved long before he was big enough to let me know all was well inside. My affection and love for all of my children grew long before their births.

God told Mother Eve “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. . .”[1] Delivering children is difficult and painful for most women. We struggle through hours of pain as the child moves through the birth canal, finally pushing his head and shoulders out, both are much wider than the opening. Childbirth hurts–no argument from me.

Some women attempt to circumvent the pain with drugs that dampen or hide it. Others endure Caesarian Section deliveries, thinking unconsciousness will eliminate the pain. NOT. It does not work that way. I was surprised by the agony of the after pains brought on after mine. Our bodies must undergo the experience of birth.

Happily, the pain recedes, in our joy of having a little child to love and care for. Ask a new mother if she remembers the pain even a few days after the birth of her beloved child.

In a section of my book, Eve Remembers, Eve shares with her oldest daughter this idea.

“Mama, what is it really like to give birth? I was there when both Abigail and Abri were born. I heard your pains. But, what is child birth really like?”

“You heard me moan, even cry out in pain, for it is given to women, sorrow and pain in childbirth. I will not tell you child birth is easy, you have seen me. It is not, but, the joy after is greater than the pain. Because of the intense pain during the birth of a child, the joy of welcoming a new little life into this world is as exquisite as the pain. It makes pain worthwhile, different from other injuries. As I followed your growth, watched you become lovely young men and women, the pain becomes a nearly forgotten memory, I remember the pain for only a short time after the birth, then the joy of your lives takes over, wiping away the pain.”

“The pain is terrible, and still you can forget? I helped you with Abigail. Her birth was easier than Abri’s. Even then, you worked so hard to move her out of your body. How can you forget such pain?”

“The pain still lingers in my memory, but is swallowed up in the joy of holding her, nursing her, seeing her smile, watching you and your brothers and sisters meet and love her. All that erases the memory of the pain. If I had not forgotten, I would not have had you, or any of your other brothers or sisters after Absalom.” I smiled at her. “Great joy overcomes the pain and sorrow of birth.”

“I think I understand. Even when I know it will hurt to put my hand into the nettles to gather leaves for tea, like the one father gave you after you had Abigail, the pain is worth it to gather them. The value of the leaves is greater than the pain.”[2]

Moms, do you agree? Tell me about your deliveries. Were they forgotten? Did the joy of your little one overcome all the pain? Please share.

If you’d like to know when Eve Remembers will be coming out, feel free to share your name and address with me.

 

[1] KJB, Genesis 3:16

[2] Eve Remembers, Angelique Conger, p. 266