There is so much research demonstrating the differences between men and women that is based on unarguable facts, from how men’s retinas are thicker to how women have 11% more neurons within the brain centre responsible for hearing.
But there is also a lot of research looking in to the differences that is somewhat questionable. That boys and girls are hardwired to want to play with different toys, that men are more likely to be risk takers, that women are much more empathetic and able to verbalise their emotions.
These days, there’s many opportunities for women to have a platform and get their voice heard. From International Women’s Day, W20 Summit, the Council of Women World Leaders, the International Council of Women, and for our younger members of the female sex, the World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts and the Younger Women’s Task Force.
Governments are starting to encourage, and in some situations even enforce, companies to ensure a certain percentage of their board or senior management team are women. Universities are looking to make a certain proportion of their yearly student intake female, and more women than ever are entering our armed forces.
Given the world is constantly evolving, it comes as no surprise that the rights of women are changing. Just this year in the UK we have seen amendments to how domestic violence against women and children is handled, much welcomed by the leading women’s legal charity Rights of Women, whilst in Jordan 20 women were elected to the House of Representatives, including five who won competitively outside the women’s quota.
Many are still unhappy though – and quite rightly so. It is being assumed that women want to make up 40% of director boards, or that 35% of a university engineering course should be filled by female students. For most women, however, what they really want is just a fair and equal opportunity to hold these positions. That means that they should be awarded the place on merit only – they should be able to earn the respect, grades, or promotion rather than having it handed to them on a silver plate.
The changing rights of women around the world are being put in place with the best intentions to try and equalise the playing field, but in some situations, they are simply putting fire behind the argument that women want the upper hand, the easier journey in life. Most ladies – and gentlemen, for that matter – want to live in a world that offers uncountable options, opportunities and lifestyles that they can take up dependant on their own, very personal, preferences.
Who are we to assume whether women want to be at board level or not, if they really desire pink gardening gloves, or whether shopping appeals as a past time? In a world so diverse, it is time to stop assuming what anyone truly wants or needs anymore – regardless of gender.
When a woman does earn her way forwards, whether that be in her studies, career or personal life, the old rules of reward are flying out the window too. Whilst it was once appropriate to thank or congratulate a lady with flowers – and if you know the individual well enough, you may deem this still appropriate – for many this just doesn’t hit the nail on the head.
Dainty jewellery and new handbags are being pushed aside by some as they look to reward their own hard work with experiences like buying themselves flying lessons, going to a spa or even going pot holing! Time on the driving range, game consoles and scuba diving courses tick just as many ladies bucket lists as they do mens.
It’s time to allow women to take the path they desire, and reward them accordingly – with maximum choice… whether it’s presented in a plain envelope or wrapped in soft tissue paper in a silk gift box!