When Will Men Catch Up with Women?
EDITORIAL, 14 March 2010
#104 | Johan Galtung – 15 Mar 2010
The Women’s Day came and went, even the 100th after the day was proposed by Clara Zetkin at a woman’s conference in Copenhagen 1910. Later, on 8 March, there were demonstrations in Europe against a male stupidity known as World War I.
And that is the point made here: when will men finally catch up with women in working, being for, practicing peace? The question cuts down to the painful question so often asked but not so often answered: is woman:man 50:50, structural parity, in all niches of global and domestic society the goal? Including the army, weapons of mass destruction, spy mafias, the markets with weapons of massive financial destruction now targeted on weak European countries and the euro itself?
Or, is it cultural parity between male and female deeper cultures? Or, could it be a parity between a male-dominated structure and a female-dominated culture? Or, that the better culture prevails in all niches? For simplicity, maybe the 50:50 approach could be referred to as shallow feminism and then the search is on for what deeper feminism looks like. Much has been written and said about this, and will be. Here is one more effort; unashamedly written by a man.
As a peace researcher with some experience from mediation efforts and peace work in general: women come out as much more empathic and compassionate, more able to humanize the other party in a conflict except when–like anybody–pressed against the wall. Women are also more holistic, seeing totalities, like conflicts, from above. And much less physically violent. More eloquent they may be more verbally violent, however. Women come out on top in deep culture, and at the bottom in our shallow structures. There is ample room for deep feminism.
Is it, then, really a good idea to prepare women for 50% parity in killing, licensed by the state? The point is not only to know the technicalities of killing, but to overcome empathy and compassion, “killing in cold blood”, as they say. Thus, the Norwegian soldier in Afghanistan known to have killed most Afghans (20-25) with one shot is a woman, and she found it unproblematic as the Norwegian parliament had authorized Norwegian participation (democracies seem to have additional license to kill). But, as a Norwegian peace researcher said, women are very close to helpless babies, and to helpless men right after intercourse. Does that technical-spiritual killing combination really bring humanity forward?
The point is not only the increased violence but decreased peace as empathy and nonviolence are so important for peace building. They both have to be uprooted. And that seems not to be so easy. For that reason US women soldiers are given non-combat killing jobs, such as directing drones from behind their computers, far away, like in Washington. Killing happens, but distance demobilizes empathy-compassion. An old formula, also used for men. For officers = office-rs.
That women have been overselected for roles based on concern for people, from birthing via nursing and caring for the infirm and old, and men overselected for roles based on concern for things, or treating people as things, is obvious. The role as CEO, chief executive officer in a corporation is based on thing-orientation; hence a great compliment to women that they are underrepresented. Is this difference, apart from birthing and nursing, biological or socio-cultural?
The both-and is as painfully obvious as it is that so many seem to think the answer has to be either-or.
Thus, monoaminooxidase serves as a blocker for adrenalin, lowering the physical violence, so, if women have more MAO they should be less violent. And, if women have a broader corpus callosum, the nerve band connecting the two brain halves, they should connect better the verbal and emotional and be better at comforting and also at verbal violence. Just like male average physical strength beats the female average.
The socio-cultural uses such differences, opens niches and allocates with darwinian struggle rather than kropotkian cooperative mechanisms. Gathering, birthing, nursing, caring limited the female and hunting etc. increased the male spread.
Are the leading social niches those of the leading gender, the men; or is the leading gender the one occupying the leading niches? Both, of course, but the second formula opens for more social change. We might simply upgrade the niches built around people-orientation, and downgrade the others. “Equal pay to women and men for the same job” is OK, simple justice. But much more important is “higher pay for people-oriented than for thing-oriented jobs”, paying mothers big for producing life, more so for nursing and caring, paying nurses more than inventors-distributors-executors of killing machines, including financial speculators. See to it that the latter exchange their average pay with nursing professions, and that killing professions exchange theirs with the peace professions. Reward virtue, not vice for social progress.
The argument is equal pay for genders, but not for jobs. Some jobs should be eliminated by decent social evolution. Most of them are run by men who will have to work hard and improve to catch up. Deep feminists of both genders around the world unite, you have only a deformed society to lose.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 14 March 2010.
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