For who knows how long, possibly forever, societies have been discriminating against classes of people on account of their race, religion, national origin, and gender. And many people of the United States, that its citizens would like to believe is as progressive as a country can be, and the Catholic Church, which its members believe is the one true religion, might be among the worst culprits when it comes to these biases.
How women got into this fix is not known. Perhaps millennia ago it was decided that because women were chosen to bear children while their men hunted and farmed, this gave communities grounds for making women subservient to men. Perhaps because men were generally physically stronger than women, then of course men were superior to women. Whatever the genesis of this inequality, it has created a system that has been self-defeating and detrimental to society as a whole.
In 2007 the percentage of women in the United States who were doctors was 28%. By 2019 that number moved to 36%. A 42% increase is a move in the right direction. When added to the number of women who work in support of the medical profession, nurses, P.A.s, hospital administrators, home health attendants, pharmacists, that percentage of women shoots up and is proof that most of the health care delivered in the U.S. is provided by women.
In 2014 the number of women with college degrees surpassed the number of men with college degrees. However, the percentage of men in executive positions in government, the military, commerce, and industry far outweighs the percentage of women. In the 117th Congress of the U.S., which comprises the House of Representatives and the Senate, 27% of its members are women. (This represents a 50% increase in the past decade.)
Just these few examples show that women are as educated as men and no less capable of delivering needed services to society. At the same time women are still generally paid less than men doing the same jobs, and are still struggling to break through that glass ceiling.
Now consider another disparity in representation that has been disadvantaging women for centuries – the churches. The most reprehensible example is probably the Muslim religion. In those religions women are relegated to such a low station as to barely being able to participate. In a number of those religions, the countries in which they are practiced, areas like Afghanistan, India, Iran, most African nations, the literacy level of their populations in some regions range between nearly none, and perhaps as high as what in America would be called 4th grade. These areas are not populated by great thinkers or accomplished leaders. Some are governed by men who rose to power through family descendency, others by the vote of a population whose ballots were not even distributed to women, and others in bloody revolutions, or the centuries long struggles between tribes. Thus, the religions practiced in many of those nations falls into two categories, those who do not allow women to practice religion, and those who reluctantly allow them to practice, to pray with the men, but not to become religious leaders or participate in the rituals reserved for their “holy men.” Again, the education and woke awareness levels of these populations is very low. And, on top of that, most of the wars we witness in those regions of the world have their basis in religious differences. To the Muslim nations the Americans are infidels and should be eliminated for that fact alone.
The exception to this narrow-minded approach takes place in Israel in a small way. While the orthodox sects still place women in an inferior position and limit their participation before god, in the more reformed sects of Judaism women can be rabbis and spiritual leaders. In the State of Israel a woman has been the prime minister, and women are bound by the same military conscription as men. The Jewish religion, which numbers only 14 million worldwide, generally embraces its women. This attitude has paved the way for what might be the most successful and progressive society in the world.
Now, as to the Catholic Church – educated men run that religion. No Pope, Cardinal, Bishop or priest gains entrance to the higher echelons of power in the Catholic Church without at least a college degree. Many have doctorates, primarily in theology. Even its nuns, its lower class of management within that system, are mostly educated women with degrees. So, how is it that for centuries the highest station a woman could achieve in the Catholic Church was that of a nun or Mother Superior, a servant to the men who run the organization? Women cannot administer the sacraments or preform its rituals. Priests and nuns cannot marry. They take oaths of celibacy, theoretically promising to refrain from using their reproductive organs for procreation or recreation. Synods and ecclesial and ecumenical counsels are held regularly to discuss how the church will conduct itself, and what it will do to ensure its continued relevance. Notice that I did not say anything about being responsive to its members. Vast fortunes are controlled by the Catholic Church, and little is done for its sick and starving. While it may have moved a bit closer to recognizing that a man can love a man (but not marry), or that in some rare cases an abortion may be necessary, they will not even discuss the possibility of allowing women to become priests. They cite biblical references as their basis for such exclusion, while interpreting other passages from the bible to support positions that are much more flexible, and are in alignment with whatever positions suit their purposes at the time. So, what makes the Catholic Church any better than the Voodoo, Muslim, or Wicca religions?
Getting back to the point of this thesis, you can be certain that in third world societies, and obscure and even popular religions, there can be no relief for women. This fact is known. But, now it has been demonstrated that even in modern societies, countries as advanced as the United States, and religions as popular as the Catholic Church, (which has more than eighty times as many members as the Jewish religion) women can expect to be treated only slightly better than their sisters in backward countries and marginalized religions.
Now look at the condition of the world as it exists today under the leadership of men. There are wars between countries and tribes that have gone on for centuries. We hurl billions of dollars of bombs and missiles, and untold amounts of human treasure at causes that do nothing to advance humankind. Corruption, dishonesty, treachery, and abhorrent policies are rampant among our leaders. Get rid of the Dick Chaneys, Donald Trumps, Vladimir Putins, and Ayatollahs, self-serving, corrupt, warmongers who have only their own self-interests at heart. Support the peacemakers, the Angela Merkels, the Oprah Winfreys, the Elizabeth Warrens, or Lisa Murkowskis. You may or may not like their politics, but you will have to admit that the world would be a more harmonious place with a view toward equality and justice if there were more leaders like these. These women have proven to be more altruistic in their dealings. They have fought for the rights of everyone regardless of their differences. Can you say that about Ted Cruz, George Bush, Joe Manchin, Ron DeSantis, or Matt Gaetz? That’s not a real question because there can be only one answer.
You don’t have to be pro choice or pro life, pro or anti LGBTQ rights, for or against open borders, or arguments for or against more taxes for the wealthy. In the overall scheme of things, these are small arguments. No one side of any of these arguments will advance the rise of humanity today or into the future. But supporting causes that fail to recognize the importance of what women can contribute will.
Half the population of the world is women. And from as far back as the first man and the first woman there has been disparity between the two. And by not recognizing the potential that women bring to the betterment of society is to deny all of society resources that are readily available and needed more now than at any time in human history.