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Women's Rights: The Next Battle

At a recent Canadian provincial leaders' conference in 2013, six out of the 13 provinces and territories were led by women. While we may or may not agree with their politics, each of these women has shown intellect, work ethic, people skills, and commitment to public service to attain these high positions in society.

Despite this outward sign of progress, there are still obstacles placed, by men, for women not to succeed in politics, business, professions, and the workplace. But in these days, most obstacles can be steered around, as these women have shown.

While society should continue to work towards removing these obstacles, the more important future social change will have to come from women, not men.

To understand this necessary social change, it is important to acknowledge a profound biological force of humanity: women have certain curves to their bodies, and men have an instinctual inclination to look at those curves. This force is just part of the propagation of the species.

More equality between the genders will require men continuing to temper their inclinations, looking beyond that rather primitive first impression to find the real person behind the appearance of any woman. But should this responsibility lie solely on men?

It seems another force of nature is for women to emphasize their curves—so that they can be more pleasing visually to men. If there were less emphasis on curves, it stands to reason that there would be less sensual arousal. With less sensual arousal, men and women can better communicate as equal partners. But when a woman’s identity is built by being appealing to men, how can that woman expect to attain equality?

This sensual identity is still a strong force in western society. If the entertainment industry is our example, the message is quite clear: unless a woman has first a certain set of curves, she will not find much success. So many women, taking this signal, attire themselves with this sense of self-worth.

Some women will argue that they have the right to feel confident, and “being sexy” is their confidence. But how does “being sexy” prove or improve intellect, hard work, people skills, and public service?

If the women are to take charge of reducing men's inclinations to look at curves, what are their choices? Going to a Taliban-inspired burka to curb sexual desires is only an excuse for one half of the world's population to oppress the other half. Culturally aspiring to an androgynous society is probably not in our biological nature. And, in some way, men and women still need to interact with each other as different genders to build the better world many of us strive for. So we should both expect and welcome that men and women will present themselves differently.

For both men and women, their outward presentation should be “pleasant” and within cultural norms. For women to advance the cause of women's rights, they should not be unnecessarily provoking the male instinct while putting all the blame on men.

Of course, there is a blurred line between pleasant and sensual. To be more on the correct side of that line, a woman can always question herself on her true motivation for the attire she chooses: “Am I trying to be sexually appealing to men?”

Or better yet, let's take a look below at the six female premiers in Canada. They are all pleasantly attired—and are good role models for future young successful women.

Copyright 2013 by Dave Volek

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Eva Aariak
Premier of Nunavit
Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Kathy Dunderdale
Premier of Newfoundland & Labrador
Pauline Marios
Premier of Quebec
Kristi Clark
Premier of British Columbia
Alison Redford
Premier of Alberta
© 2009 Dave Volek. All Rights Reserved.