Thursday, 26 November 2015

Is Equality Possible - and Is It Desirable?

by Loren Dean

(image source: totalwomenscycling)
I have always been baffled by the harsh unfairness of the world, where people in the UK waste what they believe to be common luxuries yet others in Africa barely survive on 35p a day. Whenever I felt hard done by when I was younger, I always began my complaint with: "But it's so unfair!" and often was curtly cut off with "Life isn't fair." 

However, we are in 2015 and Christmas is around the corner - a time of festive togetherness; yet some have no one or nothing. Surely with all the expertise of modern society we should be able to create a totally fair place to live.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of equality is the state of being equal especially in status, rights and opportunities. I believe this is extremely important to strive for in all walks of life to the best of each person's ability. The section of equality under most scrutiny at the present time is social equality which I think is the most interesting and diverse.

In an ideal world, everyone will be accepted for who they are without any form of discrimination. So all will be provided with equal opportunities where they are judged by ability not subject to prejudice. Total social equality would require an absence of the class system, or at least a diminished role within society - no mean feat. This would create a more communist ideological country and world. And as Winston Churchill famously said: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Therefore the route of a corrupt communist dictatorship, like that of Stalin in the USSR, is quite simply pointless. A true Marxist ideology may seem to be a feasible way to achieve this genuinely fairer society and it is often thought that higher taxation of the rich is the right approach; however, this is decidedly not the case as it would create more bitterness and also lead to more avoidance of taxation, which is detrimental in the long term.

So how do we start to achieve this world? 

(source: theinspirationroom)
An all-too-common and naïve misconception about feminism is that women want to be perceived as better than men, when, in actuality, equality is the goal. Even after the general feminist movement of the past few decades, women are still massively under-represented in terms of political exposure with only 1 in 4 MPs being women. At the current rate of improvement we will have to wait another 150 years for an equal number of men and women to be elected to English councils. As someone who takes an interest in politics, I find this a disconcerting statistic. The issue of the full-time gender pay gap is still ever present at 10% which should be eradicated as soon as feasible. Emma Watson's speech at the "He for She" conference in 2014 was definitely a step in the right direction. She highlighted that gender equality is not just a women's issue. So how can we help? Simply by saying no to stereotypes: racial, gender, whichever. By standing up for those who are put down. And additionally to avoid using insults like "man-up" or "you jump/throw/run like a girl".

Homophobic comments are often casually thrown into conversations; surely we have learnt that this is completely unfair. Even though Ireland recently voted Yes to same-sex marriage, the unjust persecution of gays is still rampant. In response to the stigma surrounding homosexuality, a Gay Pride movement has been formed, yet a portion of the organisations time is dedicated to expressing the right to exist without persecution. So in a sense we are lucky that a Straight Pride movement is not required. It is a common view that being LGBTQ is a choice. Yet we, as society too often still subject people to ridicule about something that they cannot change, that is unchangeable.

So in conclusion, I have purposely excluded the idea of economic equality as I believe it to be both undesirable and unfeasible, since it would require a completely stagnant society- one without growth opportunities or economic incentives. Yet we must all try to make a difference in terms of social equality. 

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