In this months guest blog, Philip Patston shares part two of a four part series on the diversity dilemmas that New Zealanders face in 2015.
The conversation about gender equality has long been commonplace in workplaces around New Zealand. It’s the foundation of the EEO movement and, as the precursor to cultural diversity and “family friendliness”, is often the corporate world’s only claim to some semblance of equity.
Here’s the dilemma: Binary notions of gender – ie. male and female – are on the decline with transgender and genderqueer people more and more challenging the idea that one has to stay the same gender or, in fact, be either one or the other.
Another seldom explored dynamic is that of masculine and feminine traits. Dominance, logic and decisiveness may be generalised as masculine traits, among others; intuition, creativity and caring as feminine. Masculine traits are often more likely to be nurtured and valued in men than in women. Feminine traits, in contrast, though more likely nurtured in women, may also more likely be valued in men, depending on context.
Of course there are biological differences too, the impacts of which are skewed mostly, if not always, in favour of males.
As for the transgender and genderqueer sphere, most people either don’t get it or don’t want to get it.
I remember, aged 16, seeing Boy George for the first time in the 80s and silently celebrating the coming of the age of androgyny. Naïvely I believed the world would become a place where gender just didn’t matter. Alas, I was and still am in a small minority with that fantasy.
The inquiry around gender going towards 2020 is about recognising the distinction between, and fluidity of, gender biology, roles and identity.
The challenge is to decay the importance of gender definition in a modern society.
The question is, why do we need M or F on our passports anymore?
This blog was originally posted on http://www.philippatston.com. It has been reposted on DPSN with permission.