Gender inequality is a problem men created – now they have to help fix it

Men need to step up and actually help women out at home and at work. We need them to take active responsibility for their faults. We don’t want men to feel alienated and pointing a finger can feel counterproductive. But repeating “this is not just a women’s issue” over and over simply has not worked. For years feminists have argued that work-life balance and the unequal division of labor in the home and with children is a family issue. Nothing has changed.

This isn’t to say that men haven’t gotten involved, many have. But we need more than men’s grudging participation – we need them to take active responsibility. In the workplace, where they can do more to fight for equal pay and against discrimination, but also in the home & society.

Bringing men into the conversation on gender equality takes a step toward breaking down those expectations of both genders. As Watson said in her speech, “It is the time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals.” How to do that? Men need to get integrated into the movement. Simply showing a willingness to acknowledge and understand the gender inequalities facing women is a huge step in getting the ball rolling. It’s an unwillingness to engage in conversation over the issues that only perpetuates the problem.

It’s not uncommon for women speaking out on women’s issues to be met with such criticism. Bringing men into the conversation in a productive and open-minded way is a crucial step to actually making progress on issues of gender inequality. Before significant progress can be made, there needs to be a willingness to simply show up at the table and listen.

Women didn’t choose to make less money, bias does that. Women didn’t choose to be the default caregiver, socialization does that. Women didn’t create this problem. Men did,  centuries ago and the progress is being really slow considering the existence of civilization. Does it really take this long for someone to have rights? Before even considering those “rights” why do we even need to debate on something such as whether someone deserves rights or not?

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