Equality Day!

Equality is often on my mind, but it’s particularly salient today. I just left an event with Ruth Bader Ginsberg and it’s Women’s Equality Day. Ginsberg was at my university, receiving an honorary degree, just days after announcing that she completed another round of treatment for cancer. It was a moving presentation, and I was honored to be in the same room with her (it was a big room, an arena, so it wasn’t like I was even close enough to shake her hand, but it was still great). If the audience were allowed to ask questions, and I had more courage than I have, there’s something that’s been gnawing at me lately. It would have been nice to know what she thought. Instead, I’ll just ruminate and use this thing like I have so many times, as a hybrid diary sounding board that doesn’t talk back to me.

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Life as a male feminist

This isn’t a story of my whole life, and it isn’t even about part of my life (even though the title might give that sense). It’s about a recent experience, and some recent discussions I’ve had, all about women in the workplace and some of the issues we face as a society. I’ll start this with a small glimpse into what drives me to care about this, and it comes down to one thing. I want to live in a world that feels fair. Period. I guess I’d settle for a country that feels fair, or maybe even a state or maybe even a community, but I want to be somewhere that feels fair. I know the saying “Life isn’t fair,” but I disagree. I think we define fairness differently, especially when bad things happen, but I think in many ways, life is, or could be fair. And I am happier when things seem fair. I recently attended a workshop on women in STEM. It included an excellent lecture and some good discussion after. I didn’t count, but I think there were about 40 people in the room, and about three of us were men. That’s unfortunate, but not the point I’m about to make: after it ended, and a few of us (me and three women) stood outside and talked more, at least four women leaving the room looked right at me, ignoring the others I was talking to, and gave me an enthusiastic “Thank you for coming to this.” I appreciated the acknowledgement, but was taken aback that nobody thanked the women I was talking to for coming. And I’m certain that I benefited more from the lecture than the speaker did. The speaker already knew everything she was saying. I got some new information from it, and from the discussion after. But the “thank you” comments didn’t end.

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