But where does gender inequality stem from in societies that aren’t predominantly agrarian?
Religion is another concept that has, for too long, renounced any form of superiority in women. Confucianism, being one of the largest religious groups in China (and Asia) has a core value that is strongly patriarchic (favors men). Generally, in countries which predominantly follow Confucianism, women are cast aside. The religious culture follows the need to pass down a family’s genealogy throughout the generations. But if you’re only allowed to have one child, and a female would prevent the survival of the family name, then from a religious standpoint, it would be useless to raise a woman who couldn’t fulfill the requirements. This form of distinction in gender is also made in other major religions around the world.
The world’s major religions are rooted in patriarchal ideas about where a woman stands in society. To take things even one step further, religions take this notion even after you have passed into the next world, favoring men eternally. Mormons, for example, believe that men can have as many wives as they desire in heaven. While their wives are subjected to the clause that they may only enter heaven if their husband calls her. In Islam, the afterlife for men is enriched with beautiful maidens where their wives can be part of the entourage if the husband so desires. Christianity is often debated on this subject, stating that it is a religion that supports equal rights. But not as long as God is “the Father”.
Religion is a curious catalyst for sexism since it was written by men, and most societies still hold on to what their historical books have announced. But in an age of advancement, we can no longer look to religion to educate our societies. Whether you look at Mormons, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, men have the upper hand. The authors of the books in these religions were men, the major characters, plot-lines, and children of god or predominantly male. Maybe its time to realize that if we are to eradicate gender inequality, we have to eradicate the roots of traditional religion as we know it. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be religious, it would be an entirely bigger problem if we would stop having faith. It simply means that maybe in the modern age, we have to realize that the books written by men may have some small errors in it.
The mindset for deeming women unequal to male standards has time and time again been proven a ridiculous notion by superior women who have stood out from the crowd. We live in a society where men in power are afraid of changing the way we view gender. Unveiling the sheet of sexism will shun toxic masculinity, and men who have believed to be superior of their female counterparts will simultaneously be shunned as well. The issue isn’t necessarily in the men who are clearly sexist, it’s in the men who claim they are not but otherwise act indifferent to the situation. If you are not contributing to the solution of sexism as a man, then you are part of the problem. It’s not enough anymore to just be indifferent about it, it’s time to give the extra effort and show the appreciation of the women in our lives and families. Even if it comes in the form of a small gift or surprise, it doesn’t change anything, except for maybe the mindset…but at least it’s a start. Appreciative behavior is contagious, the more we try to admire the women in our lives, the more it’ll stick.
Gender equality isn’t possible without the right approach, and the right approach starts with mindset. If our lives revolve around ancient ways of living, gender equality will never prevail. We must break down the barriers that subject women to lesser standards and look to give empowerment in all aspects of life, whether religious or not. Women empowerment comes through an educated mindset that realizes women, though inevitable biologically and neurologically different, still have equal value in our society. The idea isn’t to have all women perform the same tasks as men but to realize the value women can give in areas of their particular strengths. It would be ideal to consider it as a puzzle piece, where women can function on equal value to men, where both genders fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle of a functioning society.