Couple days ago I mentioned gender fairness and equality in my previous posting “Gender Equality in America.” I want to clarify the difference and why I pursue gender fairness rather than equality. Before I begin, a good friend of mine at the seminary corrected me almost every time I use fairness that it should be equity. Well, I do know the word equity but I would like to avoid it. First because it looks and sounds quite similar to equality. Second because fairness is easier to everybody. One of the big goal of higher education is to learn how to say the same thing in difficult terminology so that other people may not understand and confused. But I want my words and writings easy enough to everybody so that those people even with only elementary education could understand what I am saying.
Gender equality, as I define, is that man and woman get the same thing. By doing the same job, if a man is paid $100, then any woman must be paid the same amount of $100. And let me say you are a social worker and distributing goods or money to homeless people. If you are giving some amount of value to a homeless brother, then you should give the same amount of value to any homeless sister. This is gender equality. And as I wrote before, the American society does not have this gender equality not to mention third world countries.
What is, then, gender fairness? Instead of defining it with one sentence like a shining gorgeous scholar, let me give you an example — the real life example. When I was travelling in South Korea, once I stopped at a highway rest area. There was a small restaurant and rest room for both genders. Then I saw two chartered buses came and almost seventy some people rushed out because their businesses were so urgent. As far as I remember the number of male and female was almost equal. And there were five booths each for both genders, so I would say the rest area has the gender equality. But what actually happened in real life was different. Within ten minutes the male queue disappeared while the female queue was still long and many women were kind of jumping or twisting their legs because their businesses were too urgent with long queue. So, in my idea of fairness, the waiting time must be equal for both of them. If men wait only ten minutes maximum, so should women. In that situation, I would say that there was gender equality, but not the gender fairness.
As I wrote above, we don’t even have gender equality in our society. Then how much would it be really worse because the situation is like that even when there was gender equality? Because of our culture, custom and tradition, we do not even notice the unequal situation. We may think it would be normal if we have five booths for men and three for women. But to be fair, not to be just equal, we must benefit women much more even up to the level it might look not equal and not fair to men. Then we might have real gender fairness.
The example above is in South Korea, but I saw the same thing in Chicago — every and anywhere including the famous Navy Pier. We must work for the gender equality for now because we do not even have that, but that should not be our goal. Our goal must be the gender fairness.
I mentioned about goods distribution to homeless people. Even for that, homeless sisters must get much more. At least, they must be supplied with enough feminine sanitising goods including pads. And for single moms … well, do I really have to explain for this, too?
Let all good
Christians citizens arise and make the fair society!