The quest to achieve equality for all women is highlighted on March 8 each year. International Women's Day is an organization that reminds us that there are women all over the world who are not given the same opportunities, education, pay, respect, dignity and honor as their male counterparts, and they estimate that equality will not be achieved until 2186.
Inequality presents itself in a variety of ways - violence against women, refusing access to unbiased education, unequal pay in the workplace, and in some forms of religious teachings.
Violence against women is not limited to sexual assault and rape, it includes physical and emotional abuse in personal relationships, and verbal abuse/harassment in the workplace. Violence, regardless of the form used, is a pattern of behavior that has proven to be effective for the people who use it.
All abuse is a form of violence, because all types of abuse cause harm to another. We tend to want to assign grades to the different types of abuse based on the level of damage caused to another human being, but the level of damage caused perceived by a victim varies according to their personal conditioning and experience. For example, young girls raised in a home where they witness a great deal of physical violence, or were physically abused themselves will have a higher tolerance to being abused than girls who grew up in peaceful homes and were never hit. Boys who grew up in homes where their fathers were respectful of their moms are not likely to use violence against women, although everyone can be negatively influenced at any time in their life.
Access to unbiased education provides opportunity. When people are only taught one perspective, they are indoctrinated - not educated. Having access to multiple authors with multiple ideas about multiple topics allows each individual not only to form their own opinions, but to find and nurture their personal strengths. Being exposed to the different perspectives of the opposite gender helps us all to be balanced human beings, and encourages respect and honor rather than disrespect and dishonor.
In the workplace, women are often paid less than men, not because they have less education or are inferior in their abilities, but because there is still a belief that women earn less. Equal pay is getting better in some countries, but remains extremely unequal in others.
Equality really boils down to respect, but respect is a two-way street. No one really gains anything by attacking another with words or by physical force. We must learn to cooperate with one another, educate one another and work towards a common goal of mutual respect for all.
IN GOD'S EYES WE ARE ALL EQUAL
When we personify God, we understand Him as having human qualities and traits. If we challenge that idea, and ask ourselves if it makes sense that a power so great as to have created all of life would feel things like envy, jealousy, guilt, despair, anger and fear, our understanding of God might change.
Strict religious teaching that doesn't allow a person to have doubts or questions is not the product of God, it is the product of a fearful human being that wants to have their own power over others.
Every living thing on this earth has the ability to connect with the Ultimate Power - the Power of Creation - God. There is no need to have a mediator speak on your behalf or go to a special place. God is everywhere and hears everything. God does not punish or require obedience. God does not think or behave like a human being, because God is not human.
Challenge your own perspectives before you challenge others'. Honor and respect comes to those who honor and respect themselves.