The One about Gender Equality

21 Nov

Sometimes, when you are in a place for too long, you forget what the rest of the world looks like. Sometimes, that is a bad thing because you forget to be grateful for the things you have, no matter how mundane it may seem. My lesson came in the form of several renowned scientists from around the world.

I was part of the hospitality team for a recent conference. Basically, that meant I got to take the speakers out, show them around town, introduce them to the amazing food, and have a good time. And of course, since my team got to spend several hours with the speakers, we got to know them pretty well.

So imagine our surprise when one of the speakers from Japan pointed out that we have so many female scientists in Malaysia. Another speaker from Australia also said that was the first thing he noticed when he addressed the audience. I was taken aback and only then did I turn to look around the room. The professor from Japan continued by saying, it was not only the numbers, but the fact that there were many female leaders, including yours truly who was heading the hospitality team.

His comment made me stop and look at everything in a different light. He was right. I am young, I am a female, I hold multiple positions, and I get paid just as much as my male colleagues. The Japanese professor went on to explain that in Japan, that was rare, although they were trying to change things. Traditionally, men were given better positions, while women were expected to manage the household. However now, they were encouraging women, especially those who are married with kids, by offering more jobs or even scholarships just for women.

gender

Up until that day, I don’t think I’ve ever realized how lucky I am. Granted, there is still inequality in the world, and yes, being a patriarchal society, I am sure many women feel like they do not have the power to speak up. But at least for me, I am grateful for the little successes, including not being looked down just because of my gender. And perhaps, that’s a start.

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