Women’s rights: a battle of equity, not equality

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@unitedwaynca

Once we distinguish the difference in equity and equality, women can find their true power in society

It is almost comical to see the lines spanning out of women’s restrooms nearly everywhere I go; the men’s, seemingly, is always sparsely occupied. School, concerts, and rest stops—it seems I am burdened by the fact that I always must plan for the worst because of the unpredictable wait times. It seems the line would be leading to something much more exciting, but no, just a toilet. 

Nearly a month ago, as I sat at the back of a line waiting for my chance to use the unpleasant yellow-stained toilets at a rest stop in Arizona, I was furious to see my brother and Dad waltz into the men’s room with no line. They were in and out before I had even breached the doorway. 

A few minutes back into the long, hot car ride in our miniature Nissan Altima, I voiced my annoyance to my family; simply stating that I felt women should have more restrooms than men because women have more tasks to be completed in the restroom, thus requiring more time. You would have thought I suggested insanity.

“No Cole,” I had to clarify, “that wouldn’t mean fewer stalls for men, just more for women.” 

Still, he was outraged. Because we should both get more stalls even though men don’t face a line. That’s equal. 

The issue, however, lies in the hands of equity.

Equity has not always been a concept I have completely understood. In the past, I brushed it off as a synonym for equality; however, this summer, a teacher at a program I attended described it to me in a way I could grasp. 

If a man and his son sit at a football game, and the son is two feet too short to see, but the dad can see fine, equality would be giving each man a one-foot crate to stand on. Equity would be giving the boy both crates and the man none because he doesn’t need one. That is the obvious solution, isn’t it? Giving someone power doesn’t take from you, yet it seems the common fear of granting women power is the suspicion that it will take from men.

Giving someone power doesn’t take from you, yet it seems the common fear of granting women power is the suspicion that it will take from men.”

 

Regardless, it shouldn’t matter. If you deserve your power, role, or otherwise, more competition shouldn’t enable you from having it, because if you’re truly the best, it doesn’t matter. Women having an equal shot doesn’t take away from yours; if anything, friendly competition ups creativity, so it should be appreciated. 

In many ways, women have built their substantial role in society, and something as childish as a power trip shouldn’t limit their ability to grow. Power can’t be measured on some chart. There is no feasible amount and no limit to its availability. 

Giving women more bathroom stalls doesn’t mean less for men; they can keep the amount they have now as it is obviously sufficient. If for some reason they needed to create more for them, I think that is a fine idea, and it isn’t taking anything away from me.