My peer group would possibly object to that phrase - the title of this blog post - but it bears looking at. I offer a small example, one which doesn't affect my life or threaten me in any way but it represents an underlying assumption. On many occasions I have been complimented on how well I park my car. Would that happen if I was a male driver?
Yet again, this is a small point but a telling one - in a subtle kind of way. Last week a friend commented that there had been a female referee on a recently televised football match - Chelsea v. Liverpool I believe it was. He said how good it was that none of the TV presenters had felt the need to mention the fact that she was a woman.
"You have just negated that positive act," I said.
"How do you mean?" he asked.
"By mentioning it," I told him.
He pointed out that he was merely complimenting them on their equality. I said that there should be no need to compliment anyone on equality because equality should be taken for granted in today's world.
"Oh yes," he said. "I see what you mean."
But I can't help thinking that next time there's a woman referee at a men's football match he, and many men like him, will be thinking thoughts of inequality.
As I say, the above are minor points, irritating but by no means life threatening. I sometimes forget how profoundly unequal some women still are and how much they still suffer for that inequality. In 1995 Hillary Clinton created a mantra that still rings out today:
She said, "It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives." Has anything improved in this regard since 1995? I suspect not.
Malala Yousafzai said, "We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced."
Maya Angelou said, "Each time a woman stands up for herself... she stands up for all women."
I could go on with quote after quote, but the mere fact that there are so many quotes out there aimed at empowering women, illustrates that women are neither empowered, nor are they equal. If they were we wouldn't need the quotes.
I can't begin to try and heal the transgressions of mankind in this blog post but maybe I can suggest a starting point. I aim this at those men who still think it's ok to compliment a woman on her looks and a man on his achievements. When you understand how wrong that is then, and only then, will you begin to accept women as equals.