The Difference Between Diversity and Discrimination

The Difference Between Diversity and Discrimination

I was recently on a panel at a leadership event at a girls’ school, and one of the questions these bright young women asked us was: “Have you ever been discriminated against as a woman?”

“Yes.” was the answer. Unsurprisingly, all three women leaders on the panel said we had faced discrimination, to varying degrees, at one point or another.

Have I been discriminated as a woman? Yes. Of course, I have. For and against being one. I was discriminated ‘against’ every time my mother, concerned for my safety, would ask me to be home earlier than she would ask my brother to be home. I was discriminated ‘for’ every time a man opened a door for me or carried my bags or offered me a seat.

Were these good things that happened to me, or bad? Neither. It’s just the way things were. I could (and did) argue with my mum about my ‘curfew’, and I could argue with any man whoever does anything nice for me (because, of course, he is only doing that because I am a woman and he sees me as less able, right?).

And of course, at various points in my career or my life, I have also experienced discrimination in the form that we commonly understand it. Assumptions have been made about my abilities because of my gender, my race or my age. But discrimination, in itself, is not damaging to us.

We will all experience discrimination in big and small ways in our lives. I have been told I was too fat. I have been told I was too skinny. (Neither was true). I have been told I was too polite. I have been told I was too rude. (Both were true). I have even been told by a guy that he wouldn’t date me because I was always well dressed! We have all felt ‘targeted’, singled-out, excluded, differentiated against, or told-off for something or the other. But discrimination only means something in our lives when we make it mean something about us and what we can and can’t do.

Here’s the other, and deeper truth about discrimination that is not often talked about: We discriminate against ourselves.

More than anyone else has ever discriminated against me, I have discriminated against myself. I have assumed limitations about myself because of my gender, or my age, or because I didn’t speak a certain language or didn’t have a certain qualification. I have excluded myself from opportunities and refused to allow myself to do things that I would have loved. I have told myself countless times that is how I need to be, to be a good daughter, a good girlfriend, a good friend, a good employee, often at the expense of what I would have loved to do. I have often made up my mind that current circumstances or perceptions are how things are and that they are too hard to change, nothing will ever be different, this is how it has to be. And in doing so, I have held myself back from expressing my heart, my true self in the world.

Every time we allow an incident, a perception or a circumstance to mean something about us and limit us, we discriminate against ourselves.

Every time we say the words: “it’s a man’s world” or “men can’t be trusted” or “you have to be tough to succeed”, we are joining the discriminators’ brigade. We exclude ourselves from opportunities, or we teach ourselves that being our natural, authentic selves is not good enough, or worse: we make assumptions about and judge other people, too! Every time we think, speak or act based on a bias (even if we are putting our energy into proving it wrong), we are fuelling that bias.

Diversity, by its very nature, also points out differences.

But diversity looks at people and all of their differences with curiosity and wonder and possibility, and instead of putting the attention on disproving or fighting bias, it focuses on creating the world we would love to live in. It focuses on utilising the unique gifts and power of each person, rather than debating them.

Diversity is not a denial of differences, but a desire to further understand, to support, and to create something bigger, greater, more colourful and magical as a result of the differences and variety available.

Diversity includes an awareness that not only are our physical characteristics different, but also our gifts, our hopes, our dreams, and our fears make us who we are. Whereas discrimination would judge me for some of these inner traits and fears and behaviours, diversity proceeds to accept me as I am, and allow me to bring my unique take to any situation in line with a shared vision.

Diversity and authenticity go hand in hand. Diversity can only truly exist when you are being yourself without fear, and I am being myself without fear.

Diversity acknowledges differences and sees opportunities. Discrimination assumes limitations.

Diversity says: this is what is. Discrimination says: this is how it should be.

Diversity is open and curious and questioning. Discrimination has its mind made up and is afraid to ask, question, discuss.

And we all know this one: Diversity includes. Discrimination excludes.

Diversity is when I acknowledge that I am a woman of a certain age and a certain background and a certain nature, and take all of that and say: “How can I create something from all of this that reflects who I am and what I can bring to any situation that will add to the greater good?”

Discrimination is when I believe that I cannot have the life that I would love, or live my purpose in the world because of who I am.

And no matter which of the two philosophies the rest of the world lives out, whether I live out my life with the fearful limitations of discrimination or the endless possibilities of diversity is up to me.

Whether I go for that job, despite voices of doubt, and showcase my fitness for the role is on me. Whether I let age become an excuse to not do something is on me. Whether I take that remark referencing my racial heritage to heart and let it depress me, or express myself in what I love to do anyway is on me. Whether I let my current level of physical fitness dictate what I can or can’t do, is on me.

My destiny is down to me.

Women in the 1900s discovered radioactivity, fought for human rights and ruled the world. Children aged 10 and 12 have created million-dollar businesses. Men and women with no arms or even no limbs have painted, driven, married, had babies and even led successful careers on stage. What’s my excuse?

Sure, I will never stand up and ‘relieve myself’ the way a man can, and thankfully I will not have to worry about the hair in my ears growing out as I age. But that is one of the many things that makes me a woman and what allows me to be one.

Discrimination only serves its fearful purpose when we allow it to be a limitation. Everything else is just an acknowledgement of the beautiful, fat, rich, skinny, pimpled, male, female, old, and young multi-coloured and multi-abled diversity that is humanity.

– Stuti Singh

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

© Stuti Singh 2019 (

The Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI)

The Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI)

When I was researching SDG 5, I knew from past experiences and arguments that it was going to be a tough topic for me to write about.

In my previous article on Gender Equality, I tried to look at the usual controversy of being one-sided when it comes to equality. That’s why I root for the critic that insists that having an index like the GGGI is only measuring women’s issues. This is true to some extent. Although to distance myself from my previous argument, this index is measuring the very basics in society. It is not designed to measure only women’s issues.

It was created to analyse the very basics of society and its institutions.

“The report examines four overall areas of inequality between men and women in 130 economies around the globe, over 93% of the world’s population (1).”

1. Economic Participation and Opportunity

a) Salaries: you would consider the UK among one of the most equal salary-providing nations, right? Well, that is about to be quickly debunked. Thanks to new regulations as employers must provide data on gender concerning pay. Check it out per profession by yourself using this online database. Even in a profession like nursing, which is considered a somewhat feminine profession, men get slightly more than women. Isn’t that interesting?

86% are women in such positions, but they make hourly a tiny bit less, which makes a difference annually. How come?

b) Participation level: using the same statistics, let’s pick a higher position, Chief Executives and Senior Officials.

30% of such positions in Britain are held by women. How come?

c) Access to high-skilled employment: “Examples of skilled labour include engineers, software development, paramedics, police officers, soldiers, physicians, crane operators, truck drivers, machinist, drafters, plumbers, craftsmen, cooks and accountants (2).”

Almost all jobs listed are traditionally considered “male jobs”, so to be less biased, let’s check accountants, cooks, and software developers.

So, in Britain, women hold 45% of all jobs in accounting, whether they are full-time or part-time. For the former alone, they hold only 41%. In other words, they are still making nearly £8000 less a year on average than their male counterparts.

Above is another example that focuses on full-time employment where females make less (£3000 annually) than males, even though they hold 75% of such positions in the UK. It is worth noting here that, as part-time cooks, women make more money; and for all employment types combined, again, it is women making an additional £1000 annually.

Another male-dominated sector, programmers, we can see men fill 91% of these positions, and make yearly £5000 more than women. (I calculated this statistic as it is somehow not showing, but £18.05/hour is around £35,883 annually).

2. Educational Attainment

a) Higher education: “Women aged 18 are 35% more likely to start a degree course than their male counterparts (3).”

Closing the gender pay gap in the UK (discussed above) is not impossible because women are not skilled or educated enough as that is not a valid argument. I wanted to get that out of the way before anyone chose to use that as an excuse.

This could be an argument for male issues to be included in SDG 5 if the situation looked the same globally. Although, international statistics show disadvantages for women instead.

Sex Differences in Education

There is a conspicuous gap in gender participation in secondary education, as seen above in all regions.

b) Literacy: On a global level woman are still behind, “The literacy rate for men is 87%, the rate for women is 77% (4)”.

3. Political Empowerment

a) Woman in political decision making:

In the UK, “Overall, 32% of MPs are women, but there are significant variations between parties (5)”.

Globally, “Only 23% of the world’s politicians are women (6)”.

Globally, we have nearly the same amount of males as females:

In 2017, 49.56% of the world’s population was female, only +0.88% more was male. Both genders constitute nearly half of the global population, so why are 77% of political decisions made by males globally (7)?

Please explain to me: If that fact isn’t tragic, then what is? I am not a huge fan of quotas, but I vividly see a need for some sort of conscious change here. Can you?

4. Health and Survival

a) Life expectancy: In general, women live longer, which can be another reason for SDG 5 to include targets for male issues, too. I completely support such action and see the need to focus attention on this topic.

b) Sex ratio at birth: I thought there was not much of a concern here, as nature has its way when it comes to sex at birth, but there is. An intervention influences the global male birth rate to be higher than it would be naturally, which shocked me to the core… Yes, gender-specific abortions are a thing! There is a “higher than the natural proportion of male births globally, mostly due to son preference in East Asia and South Asia (8)”.

There you have it.

The above are all the four categories explained in detail, based on which the statistics are collected and the GGGI is estimated.

Now, let’s spill the real “tea”.

International Comparison

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 Infographic (9)

While running through the ascending sorted list of the GGGI, I was expecting to see Africa at the very bottom.

Actually, according to the data, in 2018, Yemen (Middle East) scored the lowest. After that was Pakistan (South Asia), Syria (Middle East) and Chad (Africa). The list continued mainly with countries from Africa and the Middle East, occasionally with a few from Asian regions.

After scanning through 40 nations, it occurred to me to look at my region, Europe. Scrolling down slowly, I was wondering on a list of nearly 200 country names where Europe would appear in the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI).

I have learned a lot from writing this SDG 5 report. I can proudly say that many of my biases were settled in my previous article. However, some stereotypes even burst for me in researching and writing for this one.

Never would I have ever thought, the first country name, from the bottom scrolling up representing Europe would be my country, Hungary, in dismal 44th place (from the bottom).

Perhaps, that was the biggest myth I was making myself mistakenly believe—that in Central Europe, especially in my country, women were facing fewer social inequalities.

To my surprise, after Hungary, it took a little while to find the next European country: Malta, at 55th.

Even countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, or even Ebola-affected Liberia and Senegal have a narrower gender gap than Hungary, according to this Index.

In 62nd place is the Czech Republic, Slovakia is 64th. With them included, at least we are in the same sub-region, Central-East Europe, and share a quite similar political, economic, religious and legal environment, compared to all the other countries mentioned above.

How come my country is so behind in gender equality, compared to the others in the region? How come I have never really noticed it, in respect to all those four main aspects? Well, that is not true, regarding equal pay, I have noticed. But to score that bad in the GGGI, Hungary has to be quite unequal in the rest too. Oh, yes, political decision making—the current cabinet, I believe, has only one woman out of 14 heads.

What do you think about your motherland or country of residence? How do you experience gender inequality in a local, national, regional or global level? Share your thoughts with me.

Calls to Action:

  1. Read more on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.
  2. Discuss the following topic with your sympathizers: What is to be done to reduce inequalities affecting all genders? Which above mentioned inequalities are the most urgent to tackle according to you, and why?
  3. Find a project and reach out to the host entity to support them with advice or funds to deliver it, especially West African entities as there is an urgent need to provide SDG-related changes there.
  4. Sponsor and motivate someone in your world to take on a Global Volunteer project with AIESEC. I suggest Creative Mind in the Benin Republic.

– Krisztina Kapuvari

  1. Global Gender Gap Report
  2. Skill Worker
  3. UK Male University Numbers Continue to Fall Behind
  4. Male and Female Literacy Rates by Country
  5. Election 2017: Record Number of Female MPs
  6. Only 23% of the World’s Politicians Are Women. It’s Time for That to Change
  7. Population, Female (% of Total Population)
  8. Gender Imbalance
  9. The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 Infographic
  • Created and Screenshots by Krisztina@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Illustrated by Oguz@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Proofed and Edited by Greg@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Edited and Published by Lee@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Supported and Funded by Advertising-Free Online Sales of What Are You Still Waiting For? Publications and Affiliation with WordPress

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Is SDG No. 5 Actually About Gender Equality?

Is SDG No. 5 Actually About Gender Equality?

Gender Equality, is this a dreamy liberal agenda or a serious profound problem we need to face?

Well, it is always hard to answer. If you ask women, they will instantly associate their replies with all those inequalities they have collectively faced within society, even today.

An overused statistic of the measured societal bias against the female half of the population should be spotlighted here to showcase our instant shared reaction.

“Based on data between 2000 and 2016 from about 90 countries, women spend roughly three times as many hours in unpaid domestic and care work as men.”

Source: The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 Overview

I am well aware this sounds like a broken record, but the fact is: it is, unfortunately, still a fact today.

Also, many can argue, as a woman, I naturally drown in sympathies associated with issues immersing fellow women.

To be honest, after self-checking, yes, that is true.

So, for the first time in my life, I made myself look into this situation (as much as I could) as a man. I was well-aware of what was paining my folks on this side of the gender divide, so it was about time I put myself in the other side’s shoes.

It didn’t occur to me till today, that SDG 5, labelled Gender Equality, has only targets regarding problems of women to be reached by 2030.

We can argue, this is to eliminate specific issues women are faced with to at least less sickening levels, and to bring back a little bit more gender-neutral balance to societal life to start with. Others can argue, this is an example of how men are discriminated against. Yes, even under Gender Equality SDG targets.

Instead of being short-sighted, overly annoyed, or siding with males or females, I seek understanding.

Historically, women were left out of politics, decision making on both societal and household levels, education, etc. These issues are all getting slowly better nowadays, at least seemingly. We can celebrate this.

An average person thinking about gender issues is naturally calculating a balance between women and men. If it continues this way, it will always be a zero-sum game, where the gain of one is the loss of the other.

“An allocation is not Pareto optimal if there is an alternative allocation where improvements can be made to at least one participant’s well-being without reducing any other participant’s well-being. If there is a transfer that satisfies this condition, the reallocation is called a “Pareto improvement”. When no further Pareto improvements are possible, the allocation is a “Pareto optimum”. (1)

If we take game-theory to support our analysis of Gender Equality, we can see that Pareto optimum has not been reached yet and there is still room for improvements that can be gained for both women AND men, and even for other spectrums of gender.

Instead of on one or the other, the only thing we need to do is to focus our attention on the whole.

Being a huge advocate of SDGs, today’s paradigm switch made me realize an important thing: even though current SDG 5 targets are important to the whole and won’t reduce the well-being of men, we are not looking for “Pareto improvements” on the other side just yet.

And that is sending a very bad message.

If we assume men agree that letting women into education, politics, decision making/influencing, etc. is not a loss for men’s well-being, we can agree that mainstream gender equality goals, even on a global level are one-sided, are a threat to men’s equality.

This second phenomenon is as hurtful as thinking that giving women equality is disadvantageous to men.

Not having taken into account men’s issues in Gender Equality is aggravating me. I don’t want to argue that women have many more issues against their gender, and they have existed much longer etc. Even if we were to assume it is true, what difference would it make today if we exclude problems from our goal list that are potentially targeting the male half of the population?

Well, we can still say: “men are less likely to be facing discrimination based on gender, therefore let’s first deal with more urgent issues”. Sounds fair, right?

My argument here is the same. It is not a zero-sum game.

Caring about issues that discriminate against men won’t increase inequalities for women.

I mean, we should pay attention to all issues, at least proportionately, as they occur in society.

Women can only gain if the Gender Gap Index is expanded, from mainly measuring woman issues, to include all gender issues. Perhaps males would stand behind it more if it, not only measured statistics highlighting one part of the population but, provided a full picture.

Wouldn’t it be better to be bolstered up by arguments that “X” issue happens with “Y” probability to women while “Z” issue happens with “A” probability to men? Therefore, paying attention to both, allocating resources accordingly.

Wouldn’t it be better to also deal with issues only men are facing for everyone such as higher suicide rate, homelessness, and paternity fraud?

My opinion is, using the Marshall cross I learned as an economist, equilibrium is dynamic.

On the way to the point of balance, first, we usually overshoot it, and then get a bit closer, as we get closer and closer to it.

I believe that men are sensing this overstepping and that is why some decide not to back women who fight for their equality. Also, I believe, some women are overstepping way too far from the imaginary line in the middle.

Source: The Economy: Unit 8 Supply and Demand: Price-Taking and Competitive Markets

So, in a nutshell, regarding normal (price-sensitive) goods, if you increase Price, people want to buy less of the good (Quantity) and you will end up keeping your books on the shelves. As seen above, with the equilibrium price of 8 dollars, 24 books are sold, a.k.a. all of what is supplied. But with a higher price, it would be possible to produce more units than with a lower price (36 books) but there would be only 17 books sold due to less demand.

However, if there were more students and we were selling books at a university, for example, the demand curve would change, which would allow for a higher equilibrium allowing us to buy and sell more books. Or, if the demand was predicted to be the same, we would need the bookstore to buy less than the original stock of 24, to find the equilibrium again at a higher price. More precisely, only 17 would be needed.

Therefore, as in Economics, when measuring demand and supply in the market, and with Gender Equality, I welcome new participants in the arguments from both sides. As, according to the laws of the Marshall cross, they are all necessary to help us get closer to the desired balanced state eventually.

Our job is to keep extreme reactions, like physical and mental violence, out of the picture and to work on freeing ourselves up to accept all potential truths from opposing sides.

Calls to Action:

  1. Read more on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.
  2. Discuss the following topic with your sympathizers: How could you be more open to listening to the other side? Do you agree it will help us get closer to equality? Do you see inequalities as a zero-sum game? Where are they perceived as a zero-sum game, where not?
  3. Find a project and reach out to the host entity to support them with advice or funds to deliver it, especially West African entities as there is an urgent need to provide SDG-related changes there.
  4. Sponsor and motivate someone in your world to take on a Global Volunteer project with AIESEC. I suggest Creative Mind in the Benin Republic.

– Krisztina Kapuvari

  1. Pareto Efficiency
  • Created and Screenshots Provided by Krisztina@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Illustrated by Oguz@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Proofed and Edited by Greg@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Edited and Published by Lee@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Supported and Funded by Advertising-Free Online Sales of What Are You Still Waiting For? Publications and Affiliation with WordPress

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

The Unwomanly Face of War

OY 19 04 12 SDG 05

The Unwomanly Face of War

“I knew my father was killed. My brother as well. I am sad for my mom. That beautiful woman is lonely now. She cannot live without my father. She asked me why I was joining the war. I said that to get revenge on my father…” – Ulyana Osipovna Nemzer

A book I have been reading for a while affected me so much and inspired me to write this article. This jarring book was written by a Russian lady, called Svetlana Alexievich. The title of the book is “у войны не женское лицо”, which translates to “The Unwomanly Face of War” (1).

The book is about Soviet women who became soldiers in WW2. Their stories and memories were collected by the writer. They were nurses, snipers, tankers, gunners, doctors, washerwomen, etc. Same war, but different stories—blood, broken bones, shredded organs, broken hopes, screams, and terrible states of health. These women influenced the war’s result for sure. Even if they had disadvantages according to men, they did whatever they could. Even after the war, its effect never left them. They lived with memories and trauma of the war. Reading these stories from witnesses is shocking for the readers and motivates them to do something for world peace.

Every nation and land have had dark times during their history. Everybody was a part of it: men, women, kids, older people and so on. Bullets don’t discriminate based on gender. They do their duty. The question is whether you want to overcome a struggle or not. Gender is irrelevant if you are determined to overcome one, and you are together. The book drives this point home.

So, what’s the point of gender discrimination? Do you think that a woman can live without a man or vice versa? Do we still have to talk about gender discrimination even in the 21st century? Will we still follow the outworn traditions of the middle ages? If we need women-power in war, why don’t we want to see it in business (2) or politics (3)? My judgment does not apply to all countries, but some. All the same, traditions, religions or other primeval reasons stop women in their tracks. They embolden men to be self-righteous against women, at least they are partial to think so.

We are here to change this strange ideology!

“It seems to me that I have lived 2 lives. One as a man, another as a woman” – Stanislava Petrovna Volkova

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II
  2. 2019 Women in Business Trends
  3. Women in Parliaments: World Classification

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Are We More Savage?

Are We More Savage?

Every generation has different properties, aspects, and opinions. Generations are faced with different difficulties and also beauties. Words, sentences, and things that make them happy or sad change over time. What about relationships between men and women? Are they still similar or different?

A vulgar video titled, “Women Get a Taste of the Gender Equality They’ve Always Wanted”, impelled me to write this article.

In the video, I could see that in the ’50s and ’60s men knew how to treat a lady, quite kindly and thoughtfully. Then, increasingly, I noticed that men became less kind and refined over time. What was the reason?

I could see that women were taking a more active role in society. Studying, having a job, earning more money than previous generations, and so on. Nowadays, women have a much better status in the community, too. In the past, women were more unprotected. That’s why their husbands acted as shields. But now, most women do not need a shield. They do whatever they want. On the whole, they want to be equal with men in every field of life.

Men have noticed that women are competing with them. At school, and work etc. I believe men innately want to come first, protect women, and lay down the law. But nowadays, most liberated women do not accept their leadership. I guess it makes some men more aggressive, thinking that there is no need to be kind if we are all equal. In such cases, these ignorant men don’t hesitate to use muscle power as they are, by and large, more muscular than women. Also, women are getting more aggressive too, just like in the video I saw. Somehow, relations between the sexes are getting weaker, more savage, and uglier.

Is violence only physical? No! I guess lots of men still do not think that men and women are equal. Also, some of them don’t like to use their muscles. Three other types of violence include: economic, verbal and sexual (1).

On sexual violence, a nice quote came to mind “instead of teaching morality to your daughter, teach good manners to your son”.

Violence is violence. It never facilitates community development. Even if men and women are different and have different qualities, such discrepancies shouldn’t create inequality. God and nature don’t grant extra authority to any gender, we were all created equal. Just teach this to the next generation to see less violence in the future.

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. What Is Violence Against Women?

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Gender Equality – Success Stories: Canada

Gender Equality – Success Stories: Canada

Gender equality can have a series of forms, each has its meaning. In this series, I would like to enumerate a couple of success stories of countries that implemented this principle in their governments. The latest cabinet (elected in 2015) consists of some real idols (even women). Justin Trudeau (the son of the legendary Pierre Trudeau) is the current leader of this cabinet. When he was elected, he gave a short speech. Below is a famous conversation between him and a journalist.

Journalist: You said your cabinet looks a lot like Canada. I understood that one of your priorities was to have a gender-balanced cabinet. Why was it so important to you?

Trudeau: Because it’s 2015.

His cabinet has set an example for the 21st century. Half of the ministers are men, half of them are women. I have to add that Trudeau placed special attention on the fact that a minister should be an idol for the people. One of his ministers was (until 2018, when he had to resign) a paraplegic lawyer. Who should be an idol for the war veterans? Many of them are tied to wheelchairs for life. So who is the idol? Someone who had also experienced the same feeling earlier. Another minister who used to be responsible for sports affairs (nowadays she is the Minister of Public Service) is a former professional athlete. A Paralympian, one because she was born blind. Being visually impaired, she gained three bronze medals in swimming, representing Canada. Therefore a whole nation became proud of her. This means she is an excellent choice for a minister. She became a lawyer when she retired from professional sport. A Minister of Sports should be someone who is widely respected among fellow sportswomen and sportsmen, not someone who is placed there for political interests. Fortunately, this minister is one of the former.

One common critique of the predecessor, the Harper Cabinet, is that it was not really into science. Well, Justin Trudeau is a science geek (he used to be a teacher) and sometimes conducts lectures at university. More importantly, he appointed a Minister of Science. Who is the best icon within science? Someone who has a Nobel Prize and is a woman! Scientists are almost exclusively men, especially within medical geography (she published a book on the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic). Moreover, she is researching climate change as well, and her efforts resulted in a Nobel Prize in 2007 (within a team). Who else can be better in this position? A scientist with a Nobel Prize. Another example-setting minister is the former Minister of Health. She is a physician by profession. Who could know more about health than a certified doctor with twelve years of experience? Unfortunately, she had to resign after a corruption scandal. She also set another example: she was the first real medical doctor to hold this position. Not only is she an expert in family medicine, but she also researches HIV/AIDS, which is a common issue even nowadays. When she became a minister, she had to address many serious issues besides the former one. At that time, the Zika virus was an alarming one for the Canadian population (the virus might cause microcephaly in newborn babies), on top of the refugee crisis. The Canadian government set another example. They accepted 25,000 refugees. Last but not least, with her lead, the government paved the way to legalize cannabis all over Canada, but there are restrictions on that. For example, you are only allowed to possess up to thirty grams over the age of 18. This issue was preceded by tons of debates. First of all, cannabis had been illegal since 1938. In 2001, the government opened the doors for medical cannabis, but only if a doctor had approved it previously (1). Then, the Liberal government tried to loosen the ties further, the first attempts towards decriminalization took place in 2003 and 2004. These bills both failed due to American pressure. The succeeding Conservative government did not take care of this issue anymore. Cannabis was legalized in 2018 (2), making Canada the second country in the Western hemisphere to legalize the drug after Uruguay. A female leader will make things happen. Because a woman takes the meaning of “care” more seriously.

With this article, I wanted to encourage thinking about which countries are more open-minded. Where are women oppressed and repeatedly humiliated, even publicly? Or, where do women just require you to comply with the rules? Think about my first video again. At school, the teacher is a woman and is scanning around to check compliance. Compliance is the key to success. That’s why women in prominent positions require you to comply. Think about that slap when I wrote about discipline. I am sure that if that one had flown from a female teacher, it would have made more of an impact on the student. The student would have screamed. Or think about the Headteacher of my primary school. She deserves a lot of respect. She used physical punishment only once when she slapped a disrespectful student. The student fled from the school, but later he realized that the teacher was right. So, we should think again where women should be in our society as sometimes we find ourselves at loggerheads with the fact that we are not mature enough.

– Gergely Lázár

  1. The Cannabis Act of Canada: The Legal History of Cannabis in Canada
  2. Cannabis was legalized in 2018: Marijuana to Be Legal in Canada Starting October 17, Trudeau Confirms
  3. Everything about the super-government of Canada: 29th Canadian Ministry

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Is There a Place for Gender Equality in the Entertainment Industry?

With the news of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein(1), came massive exposure of the dark background within the entertainment industry. Moreover, a large number of A-list actresses are coming forward to address these issues and talk about how hard it is to succeed in the industry.

Gender inequality can be seen in film, music and dance industries worldwide. The pay inequality between genders can be seen most prominently in the film industry, where the battle has been ongoing for the last couple of years.

According to the web portal Odyssey, “there had been speculation that the gender imbalance was beginning to even out with the production of strong female characters such as Katniss Everdeen in the ‘Hunger Games’, Black Widow in ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’, or, surprisingly Merida in ‘Brave'”(2). When Disney, a company known for its portrayal of traditional gender roles (e.g. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty), starts making the leap toward gender empowerment the shift in the industry becomes clear.

Let’s address the question in the title by referencing the New York Film Academy’s latest statement: “Women buy 50% of movie tickets sold in the U.S.”. If we assume that this is similar across all continents, then we can agree that there is room for gender equality within the industry. The fight is ongoing.

What gender-inequality issues are you exposed to in the workplace?

Drafted by Petra Cvetanovic




Dinner Served

In many parts of India (and the world), especially poor areas, women are not allowed to eat with their families. They prepare and serve the meals, but are always the last to eat, making them more exposed to malnutrition. No one knows when, where or how the practice started, but like many traditions, it is deeply entrenched in the people’s psyche.

Many are campaigning to encourage women to enjoy meals with their families for the first time, and the results are very encouraging. Their meals should also be the first step to empower women. How is this practised in your culture? Should we let women eat alone?

Drafted by Colina Tran

Fighting for Gender Equality Must Start Early

Fighting for gender equality must start early as gender stereotypes have been directly or indirectly programmed into stories that we are using at schools and in many cultures.

We may recall that when we were kids, we were taught that superheroes were mostly men and that princesses can only find happiness by marrying some “prince charming.” The idea of a woman hero is rarely found across cultures in the world. These boy/girl stereotypes have limited girls enthusiasm to learn and develop believing in their own abilities as all of their male peers are encouraged to dream higher.

Slowly over time, societies, while supporting payroll disparity, have further deepened feelings of superiority/inferiority. For example, “Science is only for men,” will convince girls that growing up to be a scientist is not for them; consequently, this diminishes their opportunity to develop further in this field.

Schools must lead the way to prevent these stereotypes from resuming as they would be guilty of undermining a woman’s right to be who they wish. They will continue to think that “girls will be girls” and are only entitled to certain jobs or responsibilities. We must create a gender-neutral and stereotype-free learning environment where kids are allowed to choose without being judged or frowned upon for being too boyish or girlish.

Written by Colina Tran

In Search of Mr Right

At the beginning of this month, Chenchen just had her 30th birthday. At 29 years old, blind dating had become her most important activity in life. Like most young women, she was pushed by her parents to marry. Day by day, she got more and more anxious which made her feel the way she does right now.

Even now, besides offline blind dating once or twice a week, she is also socialising online on Wechat or QQ (Chinese social media like Twitter). At first, she was more worried about her appearance but now having a successful career is more vital. “If you date with 10,000 people, there must be one guy who is qualified,” she announced. Hence she decided to date with several strangers for eight minutes at blind date parties.

That’s an epitome in today’s China, women, especially women in cities find it more and more difficult to meet Mr Right. Moreover, pressure from parents, relatives, and society push them to marry. However, as a human, having an independent soul is far more important than having a husband.

Written by Valentina Tu