The problem of gender inequality
We, as daily Hürriyet, have started an initiative to make the media free of language that reinforces gender inequality.
The initiative has already gained wide support from our readers and NGOs.
Clearing off discriminatory expressions used in our editions is at the core of our initiative. A guide we have prepared and shared with the public as part of this purpose has drawn considerable interest.
Henceforth, we will stop using discriminatory expressions that have been circulating in our daily language. We will use nondiscriminatory expressions that are recommended in our guide instead.
A historical question
We aim to prevent the new generations from using, reading and learning discriminatory expressions. We want to make them use a language free of those expressions.
I kindly thank my colleagues who have prepared the guide and readers and NGOs who have wholeheartedly given us support.
The problem of gender inequality is a historical one. It has been passed down from older generations to the newer ones for ages in every part of the world. Its traces can be followed back to thousands of years B.C. when human communities started adopting a sedentary life. The male dominant societal structure and the state built on it are the underlying bases of gender inequality.
The sociological reality behind this structure is the transition from the matriarchal society, which is more egalitarian in its nature, to the patriarchal society. During the process of building a male-dominant society the concept of private property emerged and women were passed into the possession of men. That is the underlying reality of the problem.
Although economic and technological progresses have changed the social structure, the problem of gender inequality has continued to exist even in urbanized modern societies up to day.
While we usually talk about the knowledge-based information society in today’s world, the problem of gender inequality has not been solved yet.
And it is not just women who will bring social equality. The other half part of the society, the men, also should step forward and join the struggle to bring gender equality.
The problem of the education system
In all fields of the male-dominant society, including the state structure, the education system, healthcare system, security forces and the judiciary, there is a masculine culture and sense of rule. Of course, education is the key element in changing this kind of a society and to bring gender equality.
Education starts in the family life. Families should first be educated on gender equality principles. Parents, who have been educated this way, should raise their children according to these values, and the same principles should be cherished in kindergartens and schools throughout the student’s education life, in order to achieve equality.
Parents, firstly, should stop repressing their daughters while they support their sons. They should provide equal opportunities to every child.
In the education system, equality of opportunity should be provided to every kid regardless of gender, and the government should guarantee this practice is implemented.
The curriculum should be nondiscriminatory, and text books, especially in terms of the language, should be prepared in accordance with gender equality principles.
We should begin somewhere to tackle this problem, which has been going on for ages. And we chose to start from the language we use.
Some others have chosen different points to start. Several campaigns have been carried out to bring equality and some opportunities in favor of girls and women.
We should support every campaign on this issue, including Hürriyet’s efforts to change our language.