Filmed at TEDWomen 2015, sociologist Michael Kimmel made a strong, and often funny, case for gender equality. I encourage you to watch these sixteen minutes and then share with others. I’m transcribing my favorite quotes below:
“That’s how privilege works. Privilege is invisible to those who have it.”
“White men in Europe and the United States are the beneficiaries of the single greatest affirmative action program in the history of the world. It is called ‘the history of the world.'”
“Research by Catalyst and others has shown conclusively that the more gender-equal companies are, the better it is for workers, the happier their labor force is. They have lower job turnover. They have lower levels of attrition. They have an easier time recruiting. They have higher rates of retention, higher job satisfaction, higher rates of productivity. So the question I’m often asked in companies is, ‘Boy, this gender equality thing, that’s really going to be expensive, huh?’ And I say, ‘Oh no, in fact, what you have to start calculating is how much gender inequality is already costing you. It is extremely expensive.'”
“It turns out that the more egalitarian our relationships, the happier both partners are. Data from psychologists and sociologists are quite persuasive here. I think we have the persuasive numbers, the data, to prove to men that gender equality is not a zero-sum game, but a win-win. Here’s what the data show. Now, when men begin the process of engaging with balancing work and family, we often have two phrases that we use to describe what we do. We pitch in and we help out. And I’m going to propose something a little bit more radical, one word: ‘share.’
“Because here’s what the data show: when men share housework and childcare, their children do better in school. Their children have lower rates of absenteeism, higher rates of achievement. They are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. They are less likely to see a child psychiatrist. They are less likely to be put on medication. So when men share housework and childcare, their children are happier and healthier, and men want this.
“When men share housework and childcare, their wives are happier. Duh. Not only that, their wives are healthier. Their wives are less likely to see a therapist, less likely to be diagnosed with depression, less likely to be put on medication, more likely to go to the gym, report higher levels of marital satisfaction. So when men share housework and childcare, their wives are happier and healthier, and men certainly want this as well.
“When men share housework and childcare, the men are healthier. They smoke less, drink less, take recreational drugs less often. They are less likely to go to the ER but more like to go to a doctor for routine screenings. They are less likely to see a therapist, less likely to be diagnosed with depression, less likely to be taking prescription medication. So when men share housework and childcare, the men are happier and healthier. And who wouldn’t want that?
“And finally, when men share housework and childcare, they have more sex.”
“So, what we found is something really important, that gender equality is in the interest of countries, of companies, and of men, and their children and their partners, that gender equality is not a zero-sum game. It’s not a win-lose. It is a win-win for everyone. And what we also know is we cannot fully empower women and girls unless we engage boys and men. We know this. And my position is that men need the very things that women have identified that they need to live the lives they say they want to live in order to live the lives that we say we want to live.”
“In 1915, on the eve of one of the great suffrage demonstrations down Fifth Avenue in New York City, a writer in New York wrote an article in a magazine, and the title of the article was, ‘Feminism for Men.’ And this was the first line of that article: ‘Feminism will make it possible for the first time for men to be free.'”
Thanks for watching this video! We have more great resources throughout our blog and Facebook page for learning about gender equality. Unlike this TedTalk, most of the resources we share come from a Christian perspective. But Kimmel’s message applies to the Church as well. Gender equality in Christian families and ministry is good for men too. The Gospel is not tarnished by treating women as equals and giving women equal opportunities in ministry. In fact, the Church’s patriarchal stance is a stain on the Gospel.