“MEN and women are not equal in giftedness”, that is what I would call a provocative headline even in a column called Foolish Wisdom. Now, if the word “same” had been used instead of “equal” I could see something rational in the statement.
Moreover when in the same issue (CL October 6) we have the example of Sr Kari Hatherall and her qualities of leadership I find the argument put forward just plain fatuous.
As Sr Kari would be the first to acknowledge, the many women involved in leadership in this archdiocese have done and continue to be essential to the mission of the Church – even if their giftedness apparently, according to this writer, is not equal to men.
Regarding the preselection of women candidates by political parties, the best reason for this is, and I quote the writer, “this is not an issue about genuine equality, it is an issue about power”.
Put simply, those who have the power, i.e. men, are perfectly comfortable with the status quo and have no incentive to change unless some mechanism is put in place to bring it about. After all, women did not get the vote because it was right and just, they got it because they did that unwomanly thing, they fought for it.
Complementarity is a fine thing and I am grateful to be reminded that women are equal in dignity as human persons. Each person should be able to exercise their God-given gifts and as no two persons are the same the whole argument is undermined when the word “same” is given the same value as “equal”. “Same” wipes out difference, “equal” does not.
Perhaps the above is just foolish wisdom, but as a mature woman I have seen too much of the use of slippery semantics to dodge around the issue of justice for women, sad to say, not least in the Catholic Church.
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