Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Voices of Women

Pouting and exclaiming “It’s so unfair!” was my common gig 
complaining about unequal treatments between me and my brothers.
As a strong-willed little girl, I laid out my logical argument, letting my
tears streaming down my cheek freely and passionately negotiating
my demands. When my wish was granted, my mother recalled me
bouncing off with a big laugh and a slimy smile covered by a smear of
booger and tears. 

That was the beginning of my training in advocacy.

My voice was not necessary heard in all of the situations but I have
kept speaking (minus the slimy smile most of the time). That is my
right as a human being to express, to own my voice. In her book Lean In,
Sheryl Sandberg described an observation seeing women stepping
back and not sitting at the table along with their male colleagues. She
pointed out the core reasoning of this phenomenon was like the great
chicken-and-egg debate.

“Do we have gender inequality or under performing women women

Without being sucked into the debate, she offered a simple yet
powerful solution— LEAN IN. There goes with my answer of how to
get ourselves heard. When we speak up, not only we are empowering
ourselves but also buying that chance to be heard. 

Ever since I started this blog, I attracted quite a truckload of
overzealous comments on gender issues. It can get really frustrating
trying to get through some thick scalps but I truly enjoy the
opportunity to take a stand on gender equality in all honesty.

Here is a real life example:
A poor soul came to me at work the other day telling me that the
equal number of elders and sisters in the MTC was the result of
lowing sister’s age requirement for a full-time mission. Granted that
was legit justification, he elaborated on women could now choose a
mission then a marriage rather than a marriage over a mission. 

That statement alone was enough gasoline to set me on fire.. haha

1. As researches, we recognize the possibility of the existence of
latent variables while attending to lineally explain complex issues
(cause and effect). In this situations, there are many many
possible latent variables such as the delay of first marriage.
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the median age of
first marriage in 1990 for women was 23.9. In 2010, however the
number grew to 26.1. From the delaying trend of data, it is to
believe that women generally get married in a later age for
whatever reasons. Will more sisters now choose to serve
missions only because of the availability of choice over marriage,
I don’t think so.

2. There are plenty of choices besides a mission or a marriage.
Limiting the options down to two occurs to be utterly disrespectful
and objectifying women. With more equal opportunities, women
today have the options to be professionals, receive higher
education, and participate in civil services. Unlike many other
options, the decision of servicing a full-time mission should be
made between God and the individuals. It’s certainly not
something that anyone should just lightly choose and act upon
without further spiritual confirmation.

3. Our dispositions matter. The statement coming from a male,
Caucasian person do appear to be quite condescending. It’s not
that he can’t talk about it but let’s  be more open to different
voices. I was in shock how my reasons were shut right back down
as a female returned missionary who once made that choice to
serve. Be kind, be open, and be prepared to gracefully discuss
issues in different perspectives. 

I love being a woman who speaks up. 
I enjoy helping other women finding their own voices.
My highest respect and salute to you, the many men I know, who
listen compassionately and civilly.

Now, go and speak up :)


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