If you had to choose between a feminist man and an anti-feminist woman – which would you choose? If you are a feminist who believes in supporting women and believes in putting more women in power – it’s a hard yet easy question to answer.
Gender matters in the way that looks matter in a relationship. On the surface, it’s important. It’s what initially attracts us to someone else. But as a relationship develops, it’s not what keeps it intact. It’s the mutual interests, beliefs and actions of each person that keeps a relationship thriving, not looks.
The same is true for women in power. On the surface, it’s easy to put a woman in a position of power and think that’s the end of it. But it’s their actions that truly make the difference.
The biggest mistake we make in the fight for gender equality is that we make the case to simply fight for more women. Because it’s the easy message to get out. It’s easy to assume that because of someone’s gender they will be aligned with our interests. They will fight for equality.
But that’s not the case. Just because someone is a woman doesn’t make them automatically aligned with the interests of women. Not all women believe in the same thing. Not all women act the same way. And not all women care about gender equality. It just means they are a woman.
Yes, we need more women in power, more women in government, in business and on boards because we need a balance of power. But is it just more women that we need? Or is it the right women that we need?
Gender matters but it’s not the only thing that matters, nor is it the most important thing. It’s the beliefs, values and actions of the person that matter more. Yes, representation matters, but it’s the right representation that will keep progress moving forward.
It’s hard. It takes more work. But if we want to continue down the path to equality, we have to do the work. We have to put the right people in power. People who will fight for the rights and needs of women. People who have demonstrated that they have the best interests of women at heart. And while this is typically women, it’s not always the case.
So – if you had to choose between a feminist man, one who believes in gender equality and puts the best interests of women at the forefront, and an anti-feminist woman, which would you choose?