Gender equality for a lot of people means that women should be able to do everything a man can. They should be paid equal pay for equal work. They should pay the same price for the same things as men. They should be able to get the same jobs as men. All of this I agree with. However just because a woman should be able to do all this does not mean that she would be best suited for all these roles that men have. Women have come along way since they received the right to vote in elections. They have also succeeded in many areas that men traditionally have dominate in terms of there roles in society. A often noted criticism of the church is that we as a church treat woman as a subordinate role in the church and they are somehow not equal to men. That men are somehow superior to women.
I would like to take a look at what equality of the sexes really means. How do I as a member of the church view equality of the sexes and how that impacts the roles of women and men in our faith, and society.
What does equal really mean? Does it mean that we are the same? or can we be different while still being equal? and How do our differences change the roles we are best suited for?
Looking at the difference between men and women there are some very obvious differences. Men are naturally stronger than women. Large in stature. Men weigh more and tend to have more muscle mass than women over all. Men are not biologically capable of carrying children within there bodies. Women by contrast are smaller, physically weaker, lower muscle mass and higher body fat ratios, and are biologically designed to carry children within there bodies. Men tend to be more analytical and inquisitive in our approach to problems while women tend to be more emotional in there responses. When considering the issue of equality between the sexes its is vital to understand the difference between the sexes and how those differences affect the roles of men and women in society.
There are many different professions that tend to be dominated by women. Some of these roles are secretaries, school teachers, nurses, social workers, maids, waitresses, teaching assistance, customer service, physio therapists. There is a trend here. These are professions that involve caring for other people. All these roles involve educating and providing nurturing care, healing, kindness and compassion, understanding and love. All of these things women are quite skilled at and wired to provide exceptionally well. Women because they have a instinctual or natural inclination to love, nurture and have compassion on others tend to come to these roles due to there unique characteristics that make these roles best suited to women.
If we contrast that to professions dominate by men. Professional sports, politics, military, emergency services, construction, business management, chefs. There is with a common thread as well. Protection and providing for others. Men have a natural inclination to want to protect and provide for others. These roles which require a stronger body and more analytical thought process are uniquely suited to traits that are unique to men.
Does this some how make men superior to women. No I don’t believe that it does. Both men and women have both physical attributes and psychological differences. Some have commented to me that buying things like bread makers and having my wife stay at home with the kids while I go to work somehow demeans her as a women. I have been told that I should allow her to work if she wants and It’s wrong of me to expect her to stay at home. I have been told that to buy her kitchen appliances and other things like that it is somehow offensive and wrong of me to do so. Somehow this demeans her as a woman and I am treating her as a subordinate within our home.
These things do not demean a woman but rather they uplift her. A woman who stays home with the kids and cooks supper for the family is a woman to be honored and praised. It is empowering to her as she is responsible for nurturing and caring for the future generation and leaving better kids to our world. The irony is that the ones who have done the most damage to womens status in our society are the same ones demanding equal rights for women. They demean women by suggesting that being a house wife is somehow putting women below the status of men. They demean women by suggesting that traditional women’s roles are not good enough for them and they must fill the roles traditionally held by men. They demean women by suggesting that unless they do everything a man does she is not good enough and she is being oppressed.
On the other side of the coin we have the emasculating of men. When men are expected to show more emotion. Phrases like “get in touch with your feminine side”. Men don’t have a feminine side. Were men. In our culture men are increasingly become the butt of jokes on sit coms and other forms of media. While I don’t feel that it is wrong in anyway for men to take on roles traditionally held by women it is not becoming of men to fill those roles. Men being a house spouse is a growing trend and it is not the way God would have us set up our homes. God has spoken and told us that it is a Man’s responsibility to provide for his household, not to stay home and care for the children.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for HIS own, and specially for those of HIS own house, HE hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Doctrine and Covenants 75:28 And again, verily I say unto you, that every MAN who is obliged to provide for HIS own family, let HIM provide, and HE shall in nowise lose HIS crown; and let HIM labor in the church.
These scriptures do not mention any words suggesting that women should be fulfilling these roles. In fact men a referred to 9 times in just these 2 scriptures alone. These 2 scriptures doe not refer to women once. This makes it quite clear it is a man’s responsibility is to provide for his family. Women however do much good in this world and are a integral part of God’s plan and vital to the success of God’s children
Elder Ballard has said ““A woman’s sphere of influence is a unique sphere, one that cannot be duplicated by men,” he said. Because of that influence, women have an important responsibility in strengthening the kingdom of God on the earth—– “Men and women have different gifts, different strengths, different points of view and inclinations,” Elder Ballard said. “That is one of the fundamental reasons why we need each other. It takes a man and a woman to create a family, and it takes men and women to carry out the work of the Lord in the Church.”
Matt Walsh on his blog (http://themattwalshblog.com/) recently pointed out that there is a trend of men not giving the common courtesies that used to be common before the women’s liberation movement that supposedly brought about more equality between the sexes. He highlighted that men in our current culture are afraid of offending a women because the chivalry could inadvertently imply that she was somehow inferior to him. to quote from his blog
“Ask yourself: is it better that we live in a society where men are dedicated to using their physical superiority for good, even if the good is something as small as carrying a grocery bag or opening a door? If your answer is yes, then you should see the importance of chivalry.”—— Matt Walsh
“Chivalry, had a POINT. And the point was deep and substantive. It was a point that rested on an understanding of human nature, and an earnest desire to battle our basest instincts. The point was never “subjugation of women” or “male dominance.” Quite the opposite, in fact. The point was love, and sacrifice, and service. The point was to make a statement that we are not beasts; we are not mere products of dog-eat-dog evolution. We will not live in a world where just the physically strongest survive. Women can only be slaves in a world like that, as history has proven many times.” —- Matt Walsh
Men and Women are very different from each other. These difference do not make one superior to the other in any way. These differences are essential to the survival of the species. They are essential to the progression of society and the support of family’s. These differences serve a role vital to the plan of our God.
From The Family a Proclamation to the World
By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and
protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as EQUAL partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.
While men and women have different roles and unique attributes and quality’s that make them suited to different types of work and roles, these differences in no way diminish one over the other. Rather these difference compliment each other in a way that when implemented in the way it was designed work together like a well oiled engined. Men must never use our strength or unique ability’s to oppress and demean women. We must honor and respect womanhood in all it’s forms. As men we could never do, or at least not as well as, women that tasks that are uniquely suited to women.
Women as well need to make sure they are honoring manhood and not tearing them down. Men may not express our feelings as openly as women but we do have feelings that need to be respected. We too have stresses in fulfilling our exceptions. Women could not do the task men are uniquely suited to as well as men and it is important to respect those differences and use our unique strengths to uplift and support the roles of our partners in life.
Men and women are equal in all respects. Its is our differences that make us equal and compliment each other in our unique roles that are vital to the success of our species, culture and family’s.