WOW | Men Speak

Are gender equality measures excluding men?

Compiled by: Rojina Maharjan

wow photo file © Ram Tandukar/ Gokul Shrees

Suman Shrestha
Head of Marketing & Communications,
The British College

“Perhaps if tearful little boys were comforted instead of shamed, there wouldn’t be so many angry men struggling to empathize with emotions.” – Lelia Schott. As the saying goes there is a need to empathise human emotions. Men are people. Women are people. So why is it so hard to understand the concept of equality? Feminism, by definition, means the advocacy of rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. It neither means women are superior nor man is more entitled. It simply means men and women move forward hand in hand by lifting each other up. Feminism is the belief that it is okay for men to cry without being questioned about their masculinity, it is okay for women to play sports without being called “undesirable”. It is alright for men to be as conscious as women about what they wear and how they look, and it is completely alright for women to be as ambitious as men. We live in a world where the word “feminism” is famous for the wrong definition. Feminism is not another word for male-hatred. It is equality where men are free to raise children by staying home, and women are free to work as late at night to support their family. Changing this concept of misogyny, that feminism is the promotion of female dominance and male-hatred will save the world or else gender inequality will destroy life if global warming does not.

Samyam Puri

I think the whole concept of equality is relative. For a country like ours, I don’t think it’s leaving men behind. But I wholeheartedly believe the focal point here should be equity, not equality. I don’t think women as a gender are any less capable than men when given equal opportunities. For example my batch mate from school with same family status and upbringing doesn’t need any kind of special treatment just because she is a female, in fact, based on her individual capabilities she might leave me far behind in career trajectory or success but for a girl living in a village, that extra push might be needed.

As I grow older, I see women getting better and bolder with their voice which is genuinely amazing to watch and experience. I believe trying to enforce gender equality, in fact, is bringing us closer and helping us understand and respect individual differences. I have also seen a few instances where there is a kind of vigilante approach to feminism which focuses on not just empowering the needy but kind of claiming one is better than the other. This might have created a kind of disillusionment about the concept of feminism.

As per my understanding, feminist in its core believes that both the genders are equal and should be given equal opportunities in life.

Indra Dhoj Kshetri
Media Researcher and Academician

No, I absolutely don’t think it has anything to do with men being excluded. The concept of leaving anyone behind is the problem. Any gender equality measure is not about leaving anybody behind. But it is about pulling others who are left behind. If women come ahead, men also benefit from it because no family is without women. If women from my family come ahead, that equally benefits men too. The problem is looking at women and men as a binary opposition. In reality, they are complementary to each other.

Prachanda Man Shrestha
Film Director

I think it’s necessary to push feminism harder at least for some time here, the voices need to be louder and emphasis should be given so that the concept is understood loud and clear. Masculinity has been riding above the tides for quite some time now so I would not mind if us men are left behind as of now. The opportunities we as men have received have put us in a spot where we can easily and patiently wait for our counterparts to join and then we can move forward together. Women are actually discriminated against in our society for a very long time; if this means giving them extra privileges and reservations it will not be discrimination against men. After achieving full women’s rights and empowerment, we might have equity.

Brijendra Joshi
CEO, Rooster Logic

Gender equity does have a lot of technical aspects which I might not be fully aware of. With all the measures put into place, the gap still remains between genders with the status quo retaining its overall position. Recently, Panauti Municipality became the first to declare wages for all gender should be the same but there is still a lot to go ahead pragmatically to be truly equitable before concerns of leaving men behind are put forward. However, when focus shifts to assessing the measures via desired performance and impact, its goal – equality – will be met and no one will be left behind.

Awashis Ojha
Head of Marketing & Communication, Hyundai Nepal

I don’t think men are excluded or left behind in any way. And in the context of the work environment, I have never faced biased activities or behaviour based on gender. I support women empowerment and gender equality personally. In life, women face a tough time at a certain time. For example, when they have kids, they have to face a career gap which makes it difficult to keep up with the flow and settle back when they resume work. So, some reservations regarding these are important to be understood. However, I don’t support those women who use these privileges in the name of gender equality rather than proving her mettle on merit basis. We should focus more on gender equity and help in the growth of everyone. I believe every woman is empowered and capable of leading and getting success in whatever area they choose to work with. Empowering women only helps in growing the economy.

Bidhan Rajbhandari
Managing Director, Makeways

I am a millennial male and I truly support gender neutrality. Gender equality measures are crucial in society or social systems where female are treated insignificantly and discriminated. Basically, gender equality measures are supposed to deconstruct the patriarchal dominance over women to build better, anti-discriminatory and equally inclusive reforms. Special rights, sensitivity, reservation and privilege have been given or proposed to Nepalese women in the name of inclusion, political correctness and gender balance. Despite such significant shifts, if gender equality measures solely focus on women and their issues, then there will be the chances that men will start feeling excluded. Though such measures have not shown much of adverse effects in Nepal there have been several instances in many developed countries that men have exhibited numerous complaints about getting alienated in public and workplaces. Many qualified male candidates have lost their job opportunities against lesser deserving women due to gender equality measures. In the struggle of fixing such inequalities, men have been increasingly left out. I believe a comprehensive yet progressive approach should be taken into considerations to lead the way to a harmonious value system.
I always held great respect towards women, especially independent and meritorious ones. Nonetheless, I envision our society and the world at large where all men, women and even the third gender equally represent their rights, roles and responsibilities and no gender equality measures are required to advocate ‘We are equals.’