The term sexual or gender equality has very often been linked with a horde of shameless man-hating feminists who comb the streets in masses advocating equality for both sexes. These ugly images are often turned into public jokes as men comment that the female species has already been given more rights than it really deserves. Does that mean that the feminist movement is already a war that has been fought and won? Does gender equality prevail in every society in this new millennium? Gender equality basically means that both sexes have access to basic human rights such as food, portable water or what their particular country defines as basic human rights. This obviously is not happening in countries like China where baby girls are choked with ashes once they are born. Gender equality also means that whatever rights or benefits that males have will be likewise allocated to females. Again we do not see this happening even in more economically developed countries such as Singapore where the wages of a women holding the same post as her male counterpart is 30% less.
Therefore why is it so impossible for gender equality to exist, especially at this age and time where technology prevails and traditionalists are being seen as “sticks-in-the-mud”? After so many years since the women’s suffrage movement, the glass ceiling has still proven impossible to penetrate. One main reason is religion and its enduring importance to society. Religion has always been and will continue to be an intricate thread in modern society where the existence of a higher power is almost undisputable. Most religions advocate that a woman’s role is one of subservience to her husband, quoting from the book of Ephesians from the Christian Bible “Wives honour and obey your husbands.” Spanning Christianity to Confucianism to Islam, most religions believe that a woman’s fate is to first obey by her father, then to support her husband and later on to be a mother to her children.
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