Donald MacInnes: Why aren't all women, not just my bride, truly equal?


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The Independent Online

Quick question: what goes without saying? Which opinions do we all share; are no-brainers? Are there any? Yes, opinions differ like snowflakes, but surely there are commonalities? What about a desire to love one another and do all we can to call an end to racism? You'd assume we were all on the same page on that one.

Well, no. Poisonous tribalism is a rich, fecund swamp; it's alive and kicking. And marching. Read the paper. We absolutely do not all agree that our disparate faiths and colours are equal and all deserving of a chance in life. But maybe that will always be the case. Maybe all of that is encoded a little too deeply; is too much part of us; like the grain in wood.

So are there any battles we stand a decent chance of winning? One might be that which would get us nearer to a world where women occupy a status commensurate with their numerical superiority. I would have thought that this goes without saying, but a few incidents this week made me wonder. Again.

Does it really go without saying that there is a venomous undercurrent of misogyny in US Republican congressman Todd Akin's comments about female rape victims and their bodies' apparent ability to somehow automatically self-abort if they don't fancy the idea of bearing their attacker's child?

Does it go without saying that it's appalling that it took until Monday this week for the most famous US golf course – Augusta National – to offer membership to its first ever woman? Are women really the last taboo in equality? Seriously?

Does it go without saying that it's a criminality that, despite their endeavours at the London Games, the Head of the British Olympics Association athletes' commission – Sarah Winckless – still feels the need to say that women should also be allowed to triumph in the boardroom? It's 2012, for crying out loud. That's a two, a zero, a one and a two. Which men are still making decisions about women that the law would bar them making about someone's religion? Or complexion?

From the age of 13, I lived in a completely female household. There was my gran, my mother and my sister. And the dogs, also female. I would like to think that such an oestrogen-heavy upbringing is the reason why I find any opinions or actions that, however covertly, put women down to be more offensive than any others. I hope I would have thought this way anyway. But I'm embarrassed to say that it was only recently I realised this is the one injustice in life which bothers me more than any other.

A week on Saturday, I am getting married to a woman and, if I achieve nothing else, I aim to do all I can to make sure that, in our house anyway, equality triumphs.

It's the very least I can do.