Persuasive speech- speaking
Topic: Gender inequality (by extension the fight for equality)
What is the largest problem we have in society nowadays?
The refugee crisis?
The fiascos in Libya and Syria?
The Rohingya crisis in Burma?
All of these are major problems. That’s fact. But there is something larger than that, something that none in the 193 countries on the face of this earth have been able to solve – gender inequality.
Let me give you an example. The total number of men elected to parliament in 2015 was more than the number of women ever elected into parliament in the history of the House of Commons.
Another example: Let’s take a quick look at the top 100 companies in the London Stock Exchange, in the FTSE 100 index, alright. 8 of them, are run by women. I suppose you’d say: 7, that’s alright, until you realise 17 of them, are run by men called John. 9 of them are run by men called David.
Now, I’m sure John and David are doing a fine job. But it also shows us how few women are in positions of power.
It’s not only the limited number of women in power that worries me, however. There’s also a pay gap. Nowhere on the face of this earth are women getting equal pay compared to their male colleagues. There are a wealth of laws; the Equal Pay Act in Britain was passed in 1975.
Nevertheless, there are still many, many women who, from early November until the end of the year, by comparison to their male colleagues, are effectively working for free. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that women will finally get equal pay in … 2133! Yay!
Too bad that was a 2016 report. In their 2017 report, do you know what they revised it to? 2234, a paltry 216 years away. At this rate, it would at least 3 generations from us to achieve equal pay. And that’s if the estimates don’t continue to rise.
It’s not only in, say, the workplace. In many places, stigma against unmarried women, or even educated women remain.
But why should men sign up for this? It’s not like males, like me are not benefiting from the status quo. It suits us to earn more or be in positions of power. In fact, I think John and David are having a lovely time. And to those people who have not yet or have yet to realize how large a problem gender inequality is, or can be, and we, being in positions of privilege, I should say, never seem to notice it.
So, making men realise that the word gender exists is the first step in engaging men to support gender equality
Now, when men first hear about gender equality, when they first start thinking about it, they often think, many men think, well, that’s right, that’s fair, that’s just, that’s the ethical imperative. But not all men.
There is a group that actively resists gender equality, that sees gender equality as something that is detrimental to men. There was this American talk show, and there were four angry men who believed that they were the victims of reverse discrimination in the workplace. And they all told stories about how they were qualified for jobs, qualified for promotions, they didn’t get them, and were really angry. And the reason I’m telling you this is I want you to hear the title of this show. It was a quote from one of the men, and the quote was, “A Black Woman Stole My Job.”. I have just one question, and it’s about the title of the show, ‘A Black Woman Stole My Job.’ It’s about one word in the title. I want to know about the word ‘my.’ Where did you get the idea it was your job? Why isn’t the title of the show, ‘A Black Woman Got the Job?’ or ‘A Black Woman Got A Job?'” Because without confronting men’s sense of entitlement, I don’t think we’ll ever understand why so many men resist gender equality.
Look, we think this is a level playing field, so any policy that tilts it even a little bit, we think, “Oh my God, water’s rushing uphill. It’s reverse discrimination against us.”
So, let me be very clear: men in across this world are the beneficiaries of the single greatest affirmative action program in the history of the world. It is called “the history of the world.”
So, now I’ve established some of the obstacles to engaging men, but why should we really support gender equality? Of course, it’s fair, it’s right and whatnot. But more than that, gender equality is also in our interest as men. If you listen to what men say about what they want in their lives, gender equality is a way for us to get the lives we want to live.
Gender equality is good for countries. It turns out, according to most studies, that those countries that are the most gender equal are also the countries that score highest on the happiness scale. And that’s not just because they’re all in Europe. Even within Europe, those countries that are more gender equal also have the highest levels of happiness.
It is also good for companies. Research that the more gender-equal companies are, the better it is for workers, the happier their labour force is. They have lower job turnover, lower levels of attrition. They have an easier time recruiting, have higher rates of retention, higher job satisfaction, higher rates of productivity. So the question often asked in companies is, “Boy, this gender equality thing, that’s really going to be expensive, huh?” And fact is, gender inequality costs more than equality. So this equality thing, is good for business.
And the other thing is, it’s good for men. It is good for the kind of lives we want to live, because young men especially have changed enormously, and they want to have lives that are animated by terrific relationships with their children. They expect their partners, their spouses, their wives, to work outside the home and be just as committed to their careers as they are.
Younger men today expect to be able to balance work and family. They want to be dual-career, dual-carer couples. They want to be able to balance work and family with their partners. They want to be involved fathers.
Now, 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.
The data shows: 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.
So, what we have 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 to live the lives that we say we want to live.
It’s been 100 years since the introduction of women’s suffrage in the UK – about the lifespan of an old tortoise. Yet, we still have many years to go before equality is achieved.
Come on people, let’s activate! Let’s change the world! I know we can do it, and it wants doing!