I had an argument with my physio this morning.
We were chatting about baking (he’s an avid baker for his two young kids), which led to a discussion on the recent Gender Pay Gap Bake Sale held at the Queensland University, and the issues that came out of that: namely, that even though we live in what we think is an equitable society, not only is wage disparity a real issue, but that when this discrepancy is raised, the anti-women vitriol that comes to the fore is positively frightening.
Both agreeing that this is, of course, deeply shocking and condemnable, my physio went on to say that by choosing to read about and be affected by it, that I’m making myself unhappy. As a parent, he said, he is actively trying not be taken in by the seemingly endless bad news stories as generated by the press.
He went on to confess that it is too scary for him to consider the world he’s actively welcomed his children to and would therefore prefer to focus on what he does have control over; the raising of good respectful humans.
He isn’t alone in feeling like this: a number of my friends with children have commented that they too now view everything in the news as a threat and no longer actively engage with the wider world.
My perspective is a bit different; I believe that as a citizen of the world, it is our duty to be cognisant of all its shades – both the good and the bad, and to actively participate in shaping the world the way we want our children to inherit.
Wage disparity is a real issue across all industries in Australia. It’s happening right in front you. It’s happening right in front of me – actually, it’s happening to me. And that’s not right. It should be discusssed and the underlying question of why this continues to occur be constanty asked. If the response that this bake sale recieved is anything to go by, this mere sratching of the surface of the ‘why’, uncovers an active part of our society which appears to fundamentally hate women. That was a huge wake up call for me and certainly makes me feel less secure in our society, especially because these people were not visible but only gave their opinion protected by the anonymity of the online environment. In real terms, this means that the individual standing in front of you could be a wolf in sheeps clothing.
We are at a time in history where believing in the fundamental good of man is required if we are to hold together our increasingly fractured society. This display of violent discrimination does nothing other than erode this belief.
In order to raise good, respectful humans, don’t we need to be fully aware of the what that means? Of what we need to equip both ourselves and our children with in order to not only defend but to fight for our rights in the future? And of how to spot a wolf in sheeps clothing?
I think we do.