Males and females equivalent and should be equally respected

Phil Schurrer and Phil Schurrer

I met my wife 40 years ago. We’ve been married nearly 38 years. I can honestly say she’s taught me more about the man-woman relationship thing than I ever learned from my parents, education or just being submerged in our so-called Western civilization. She’s from a very traditional family where women didn’t work outside the home and we’ve raised our two sons in that environment. Having said that, she’s entirely in agreement with the notion that women who do similar jobs and have similar experience as their male counterparts should be paid equally. But, more importantly, she also supports the notion that a woman should have the freedom to stay home and raise children. Talk about freedom of choice! When feminism surged in the ’60s and ’70s, all we heard was the notion that women who were ‘liberated’ (some of us remember that term) were almost duty-bound to seek an education, secure a job outside the home and compete with men. We thus witnessed the rise of two-earner families. Now, many couples are in a situation where the two-breadwinner family is no longer an option. The family needs both incomes to keep up with payments on the bigger house, late-model vehicles, increased dry-cleaning costs, college tuition for the kids, day care and so on. When the economy shrinks and job losses occur, relationships suffer. This is not a brief for women staying home, being confined to raising children and being ‘barefoot and pregnant.’ The fact is women and men are different (in case you haven’t noticed). This does not mean they’re unequal. The old measuring metaphors of ‘apples to oranges’ don’t even apply in this case. Since I don’t know any other phrase to describe it, let’s use the term ‘equivalency.’ Women and men are equivalently human, not identical. The fact is there are two ways to be human: male and female. Each is equal in terms of rights and dignity, but each gender has different roles to play in the development of civilization. This is not a replay of that old canard ‘biology determines destiny.’ It’s deeper and more profound. Research seems to indicate the brains of women and men tend to be ‘wired’ differently, and information tends to be processed differently. Again, we’re not identical; we’re equivalent, and that equivalency gives us an equal claim to be treated with dignity and respect. My daughters-in-law seem to share the view that a woman should be given the choice of pursuing a career with a possible ‘off ramp’ for raising (and enjoying) children before heading back to the workplace later. The bottom line: we’re all human, and we show it in different ways. It isn’t just a male vs. female thing. Those organizations, departments, political action committees and lobbying groups that purport to promote solidarity within a given demographic by accentuating differences may only be getting half right. Along with our differences, our similarities need to be emphasized. People are under enough pressure with busy lives and economic problems. We need to let everyone, male and female, know they’re entitled to respect. Raising children is a full-time job – probably the most important in the world. It deserves an equal amount of respect.