Making women's voices heard 📢

Why should women need to be better than men to deserve a seat at the table? Our UK-based interview contributor Dona Bouloud explores. 

Gender equality should not be conditional. Women are half the population, therefore we should be given half the seats at the table. Yet, I keep on hearing that “they won’t necessarily be better than men”. No they will not, and that is not what gender equality is about.  
 
How is this still a thing?”, “Why do we need to fight for this? Are we not in 2018?”. Every day, my news feed brings up a range of hot topics related to the place of women in our society that often leaves me with these reactions. The only good thing that I take out of these questions is that it shows gender equality is one of the most discussed issues of our time. Indeed, giving women more visibility - in leadership positions, panels, in the media, or in any area where they lack representation - has become a major concern in many parts of our society. But arguing that women will not necessarily make things better both for the world and for women shows that gender equality is not well understood.
 
We should not expect women to necessarily be better than men. Men have taken wrong decisions for centuries – impacting all human beings, earth and societies – yet no one has ever blamed their gender to justify their wrongdoings. Let us not start doing it for women.
 
Additionally, expecting women to only participate in feminist issues is dangerous: whether or not they are given consideration should not be dependent on how much feminist content they add. Although the military has nothing to do with feminism, the British Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, lawfully acknowledged that men and women should have equal chances to access employment and to add their voice, even within the highest bodies of leadership. All UK military roles, including within the elite SAS and frontline infantry, are now open to women. Objecting to this will only work to continue male domination.
 
Having said all that, gender equality is not about copying men's attributes – culture, values, characteristics – and pasting them onto women. They will not fit into this male frame, and they don’t have to. Gender equality is about hearing women as much as we hear men but also acknowledging their failures. On this last point though, we are certain no one will pass them up.

Dona Bouloud is currently based in London and is seeking to pursue a career in foreign policy with a media focus. She regularly writes op-eds on Medium about anything she judges worth discussing. Dona holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and a BA in Political Science. You can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.