Equality is sometimes mislabeled as wanting extra benefits for being a woman, non-white, LGBTQ, non-Christian, and more. But that is simply not what equality means. It means plain and simple to be treated as equals. The same rights. Not extra rights…just identical rights.
I had an experience in my 20’s that keeps coming to mind over the last six months or so. I was a VP of sales and marketing for a good company out in Utah. I had the opportunity to write the sales training manual that they still use today. When I penned the manual every time I mentioned gender I used “She” or “Her”. I did it with a bit of a chip on my shoulder because on a regular basis I was treated as less because I was not just a woman in the workforce but a young woman. I could go on about the massive amounts of sexual harassment from men in business but that’s not where I’m going with this. So, I put together the training materials. Enter my sales force.
While I did get some women who applied for and did well in sales the majority of my sales force during my years with the company were men. With every person who came on my team, I trained them personally. Part of this included reading out loud from parts of the manual I had created. Without exception (and I realize this is hardly a scientific study) every man as he read aloud changed the words “Her” and “She” to “Him” and “His”. I did I mental fist pump every time this happened. Not because I’m a jerk but because I saw what was happening.
The men weren’t pouting. They were not being overly sensitive. They were not being whiny bitches. The only wanted to feel included. They wanted equality. For that brief moment during training, even though I never pointed it out to any of them, they knew what I felt when I read all the sales books about men with no thought for women in business.
I will admit that in writing materials there is a lot more of inclusiveness for women these days. But that isn’t the only issue. This isn’t about training manuals it’s about being included. Wholly. Same pay for the same work. You don’t tell men to smile more or be less shrill in the office. Why then is that so common for women to hear? We want to be treated fairly and it’s not just us.
LGBTQ people don’t want extra rights. They want the same rights as everyone else. They want to be able to hold hands or kiss in public and have it be no big deal the way it is with same-sex couples. They want to get married, have tax benefits, and health benefits together. To have families. This is not extra it’s equal.
Black lives do matter. Nowhere in that phrase does it say “MORE”. It’s a statement that they want to feel the same worry a white person does when they get pulled over by the police. They want their biggest fear in that situation to be “Oh damn, I might get a ticket!” not “Oh God, I might die right now!”
Women’s rights are human rights. LGBTQ rights are human rights. Black Lives Matter is human rights. Non-Christian rights are human rights. Mental health rights are human rights. And the list goes on.
Equality isn’t about favoritism. Getting extra because of your skin color, gender, or sexual identity. It’s being seen as a human being and being treated like one. This is what the march was about for me on Saturday. It’s why I wish so hard I could have been at the one here in Chicago. If you follow me on twitter you know I was in the ER Friday night with severe bronchitis and can’t leave the house for a bit. But I was there in spirit and supported everyone with their myriad of reasons for marching.
Did you march? Do you know people who did? Half my family did and I am so proud of them for being part of history being made. A lot of my friends marched as well and I am grateful to them for standing up when I couldn’t. I’m grateful to all the men and women who marched yesterday. It meant so much to me!
Finally, now that the march is over it doesn’t mean our work is done. Here is a great link for 100 actions in 100 days. The first of which is to write a letter to your senator. I’m committed to doing this and I hope you will check it out too.
I know many of my readers are authors and equality is an important aspect to write into our stories. There are so many things we can all do. Let’s stand up for one another and make this world a better place. Thanks for reading. I look forward, as always, to continuing the discussion in the comments section. Let your voice be heard below! Thanks for reading!