Let me begin by saying that gender imbalance is still a big problem, both socially and in the corporate world, especially this side of the world.
That said, this campaign to get to a place where everyone is valued for their ideas and contributions has led women to read sexism even in instances when it isn’t there.
The gender card is the first thing we instinctively reach for these days when wrong has been done or a crime has been committed.
When Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was arrested and charged with corruption last week, I heard the argument that she shouldn’t have been because there are countless men in the past who got away with similar offences. While this may be true, it does not mean that if it is a woman perpetrating it, corruption is okay.
Or that we should all turn a blind eye because men have gotten away with it. If you ask me, playing the gender card in this instance is an attempt to deflect from the problem at hand. Believe it or not, if indeed the deputy CJ was involved in corrupt dealings, her gender was the last thing on her mind while at it.
So why are we making it a gender issue now? At a wedding a few weekends ago, I listened in horror while woman I know to be a loud campaigner against violence towards women cracked jokes about men getting their genitals chopped in a certain part of the country where the bride also happened to come from.
In a bid to reach equality, we are unwittingly getting biased against those not of the same gender as us. We have become insensitive to gender bias that isn’t directed at us.
GREATER THAN GENDER
Before you accuse others of sexism, slow down and look at the facts. Shake off those assumptions you may harbour about someone because of their gender.
Sometimes a situation, while involving a man and woman, will have nothing to do with gender. Issues are not always about gender.
This is something we also seem to forget in competitive situations, when men and women are competing for a post or a prize in a creative competition. A lot of times, you will hear, ‘vote for your fellow woman’ and if you do not, then you will be slapped with the ‘women are their own worst enemy’ claim.
If indeed we are seeking to get to a level ground, we should be saying, ‘vote for so and so, they are the best’ regardless of this person’s gender.
It’s true; we are still a long way from attaining gender equality. If the woman card is the first thing you throw when faced with a challenge, however, you are shifting blame and responsibility to others.
This means that women will be stuck at the position of victim and will take much longer before they are ready to compete at par with men.