Despite the fact that gender equality has been an issue for decades now, it is still an unsolved problem. Society may have come leaps and bounds from the days when women were nurses, not doctors; and men were doctors, not nurses; but I don’t think anyone could honestly say gender discrimination is a thing of the past. Permit me to speak of American politics for just one moment; I recently read an article stating that prior to running for the presidency, Hillary Clinton was the most respected women in the world among the population of the United States of America. “More than Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai or Oprah. A lot more.” And why after campaigning for the White House was her name dragged through the mud and her intentions discredited to such great degree? Because she is the Democratic candidate, yes; but also because she is a women and the American public cannot fathom being led by someone without a penis. The article titled “Written in the scars of Hilary Clinton” by Sandy Garossino is definitely worth reading and points out the striking favor the media has given to her male rivalry despite his incredible inadequacies.
It’s sad but true that our society still looks down on women and will not give them the same opportunities, the same compensation or the same credit simply because of their gender. We, (the union community) are doing our best to create an atmosphere free from discrimination of any kind. We fight for human rights and equality, yet when a member of the opposite sex joins our local we typically ask them if they would like to be specifically referred to as ‘Sister’ or if they are okay being referred to as ‘Brother’ along with everyone else.
The choice is to either accept that you are working in a male dominated workplace and just go with it or risk being singled out with some awkward introduction of sorts like, “Brothers and lone Sister, sitting over there in row 2 beside Frank, thank you for coming out tonight by the way. I have a great deal of useful information for you this evening…”
I’d be interested to know how this is handled in a union membership that has historically been comprised of female members. Do they ask a new male member if he minds being referred to as Sister? (If you have an answer, please comment below) I work in a historically male dominated membership and the many ladies that have joined us all seem fine with the broad generalization of ‘Brother’ but I’d be willing to bet the men would not take well to being generalized as ‘Sister’. Society has somewhat told us it’s synonymous with the lesser. You still hear the insult of ‘Suzy’ or ‘Nancy’ thrown around intended as a dagger. If we are to seriously look at abandoning these archaic beliefs we need to approach it in an entirely different way.
We need one word that connects us like the family that we are and removes the gender inequality all together. Broster; a union member without regard to genitalia, is a word I have created by simply combining the words brother and sister. The definition points out the ridiculousness of the idea that we need to, for some reason, address someone differently depending on the genitals underneath their clothes. By using this word we show the world that unionism is at the forefront of true gender equality. It may be only one small change, but the idea will be revolutionary.
If you also feel the need for change, I ask for your help in sharing this idea with whomever you can.