Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Where have all the women gone?

A large swathe of our world has been markedly absent from the news recently . . . have you noticed?

Whether you've been watching the latest television bulletin or studying the daily newspaper, provided you discount royalty, celebrities and Ascot fashion, there's been little or no mention of women.

It's men . . . men waving flags of rebellion, men toting guns, men kicking footballs, men in discussion . . . it's the men who dominate.

On the world stage, with the singular exception of Angela Merkel, you can search in vain for a woman's voice.

True, there may be an interview with a grieving wife or mother in a war-zone, with the suffering occupant of a refugee camp, with an aid worker . . . but it's a token gesture, within seconds attention returns to the dominating activities of the men.

How is it that half of the world's population appears willing to be rendered invisible?  As my friend, Beverly, pointed out to me, not so long ago they were clearly visible and audible . . . just listen to this link to see what I mean.  But now their activities remain in the background and don't make the headlines.
Yet, if we think about if for a moment, the female perspective is vitally important.  Surely it needs to be seen and acknowledged?

This difference in perspective is evident from childhood.
A small boy, when provoked, is more than likely to react with his fists.  A small girl, in a similar situation, will probably resort to tears or arguments.
Whereas boys are prone to see things in black-and-white, girls will generally accept that life is more complex.
Boys usually see themselves as team players who believe in structure and hierarchy.  Girls tend to favour loose groupings and short cuts.

In the interests of our troubled world, shouldn't we bring the wisest of these elements together?
Men can't lay claim to constant, unclouded judgement any more than woman follow an unwavering pursuit of love and harmony.  But a union of the best in both, a union where clarity of purpose and vision is diffused by compassion, where man's competitive nature is tempered by woman's nurturing and collaborative skills . . .  wouldn't that enrich us all?

'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus', declared John Gray . . . it's a mutually beneficial partnership.

As I write, the number of refugees worldwide exceeds fifty-one million, a number that is mounting daily.  Fifty-one million traumatised, homeless people, each in desperate need of food, shelter and hope.

So, please, warring world . . . allow the women to play their part.

At the very least, when World Cup hopes come crashing it takes a woman to murmur gently, "It's only a game . . . ".