food for thought...

I had a dream that my friend Michael and I were playing in State of Origin. We were playing in these ridiculous three-quarter tights that American football players wear, but I was being totally abused from the sidelines by all the men in the team, because I'm a woman and they didn't think I should play league.
It was such a strange dream! But I was thinking...us New Zealand women are so blessed in the fact that we can live in a society that doesn't restrict us from our basic human rights. We don't have to deal with female circumcision, we don't have to put up with widespread acceptance of domestic abuse...we are given equal opportunities in education and we have the right to vote, the right to have our say.

But then again. Women in NZ still have a battle to fight. The following stats are from the NZ Ministry of Womens Affairs website...
Comparing women and men against key indicators, 2008

Women Men
Percent with a post-school qualification 48.6% 52.9%
Representation in Modern Apprenticeships 9.4% 90.6%
Median weekly income $413 $690
Representation in Parliament 33.6% 66.4%
Proportion who are victims of sexual offences (2005) 4% 2%
Health expectancy (2006) 69.2 years 67.4 years
Satisfaction with work-life balance 77.2% 74.6%

Median hourly earnings by gender and ethnicity, 2008

Weekly income distribution, by gender, 2008
Figure 25: Weekly income distribution, by gender, 2008

We, on average, are on par with men when it comes to education (European women actually are slightly more likely to have a tertiary qualification than European men - the fact that this is opposite for Maori and Pacific Islander women is a different, and more heartbreaking, story). Yet womens' median weekly incomes are 40% lower than that of men, and we are completely under-represented in Parliament.

And then we come to income disparity. On average, women succeed more in school than men. Women dominate in lecture theatres arund the country. Why is it then, that women earn on average less than men? NZ has legisaltion forcing employers to pay women and men equal amounts for the same job. Therefore, the obvious conclusion is a) there are more men in the workforce or b) more men occupy more highly paid positions than women. Why is it that in such a blessed and prosperous nation, women are still not equal?
A (fantastic) friend of mine told me that in his sociology class, they were told that the only profession in which women dominate and are paid more than men in is the pornography industry. Does that not say it all? This objectification of women is stagnant. Being taken advantage of is a story that echoes through the generations. Yet we learn so slowly...

There is so much injustice in our backyard, and gender inequality is just one of them. What are we doing to teach our children, our people, our communities, not about about stereotypes or what is "normal," but the differences that make us beautiful, the differences that unite us as one body under our Lord? One body that is free of injustice, inequality, free of the pain inflicted by big egos and the abuse of power?

When will we learn about the Jesus that loved us all so much, so equally?


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