The equality of women and men is not simply a woman’s issue. This is made clear by the document which explains, “women and men must work shoulder to shoulder as they apply spiritual principles to the construction of a new social order characterized by justice, peace and collective prosperity.” It’s the responsibility of both women and men to work towards the creation of a world order as described in the document. Inequality between the genders inhibits our ability to progress and causes the perpetuation of violence and injustice. This can happen in extreme situations that have devastating effects of women’s lives or it can manifest in more subtle ways that leave permanent imprints on the way we think about ourselves. Sometimes there is a desire to want to think about gender equality as just being about equal pay for equal work or stopping violence against women but it is those things and more. To think that the inequality that exists between the genders does not impact all of us is to ignore the reality of the world in which we are living. The field of the advancement of women is not only about advancing women, it’s about advancing our society from a place of violence and corruption to one of equity and peace. This we do through the recognition that without the active and open input of everyone, we will be incapable of moving forward.
Everyone has something to say about this issue, something truly valuable. There is no one person who can claim to be an expert on the issue of equality. These issues affect our lives every day, our conceptions of self; it’s not possible that we don’t have something to say about it.
The sentence I quoted from the document makes clear that our end goal is not just about providing women with the same rights that are available to men but rather to restructure our social order so that it is not longer plagued by unequal distribution of wealth, greed, violence, famine and disease. We should be building a world order on the foundation of justice, peace and collective prosperity.
“Then, when it’s all handled, when 17,000 children a day are no longer dying of hunger; when the ecosystems of the planet are well on their way to restoration; when nuclear bombs are scarce if not completely gone; when females of the world are no longer treated like chattel; and the nations of the world are beginning to achieve a real and lasting peace; then, we can celebrate. But until then, we should mourn. Anyone who’s looking at the world and not grieving isn’t conscious; but anyone who’s looking at the world and not rejoicing in the possibilities for how we can turn all this around, is underestimating what human beings can do. We can learn to love each other. We can be conduits for the miraculous. We can stop playing small and start playing large. We can stop giving in to our weaknesses and start claiming our strengths. We can tell truth to power. We can act like we mean it. We can never, never, never give up. We can be the mothers and the fathers of a new and better world. And all of this is possible because human beings can decide. We can decide to say something. We can decide to write an email. We can decide to step up and participate. But we must decide now… not later. There is no more time to waste.”