Saturday, 8 June 2013

Where I Reveal Who Is To Blame For Gender Disparity

Let's say your daughter grows up and goes to College. Grad School.

Amazing job.

And Mom, the good news is I'm going to be paid $81,000 starting salary.  I know this is a lot of money, but you know it's weird,  the men at this job are being paid $100,000. 

You would be OUTRAGED.

THIS IS RIDICULOUS you would shout.  Are you telling me that the BOYS doing the EXACT same job are making $19,000 more than you a year? Just for having an extra body part? That is INSANE.

You went to school, you studied hard. You play the ukelele. You won the science fair. You are an excellent tennis player. And now, suddenly you are only earning $81,000?

And whose fault, you may be wondering, is this?

Oh, I'll tell you who's fault it is. The Group Bat Mitzvah, ladies and gentlemen, is completely to blame.

The Group Bat Mitzvah is a phenomenon where a bunch of girls get together, often have a full year program of study and good deeds, and then share the evening of their Bat Mitzvah. Usually they will each say a small part of the program, maybe present their project. They might sing together, or they might have some solos.

(A full year program of study and good deeds sounds terrific. How can you possibly find fault with that? Stay tuned, and I'll explain everything)

Boys on the other hand have no such option. A Bar Mitzvah is a solo affair. Some people have B'nei Mitzvahs with one boy and one girl - cousins, siblings, good friends. I am not talking about that. I am talking about a Group Bat Mitzvah which is organized by a synagogue, school or community organization.

I have no clue who invented the Group Bat Mitzvah, or why they thought girls should be lumped together for increased efficiency and decreased individuality, nor do I have any idea why this concept has caught on like wildfire in the last few years.

I am absolutely convinced that the Group Bat Mitzvah does a disservice to our daughters. I also think it, much like counting men only in the minyan, has survived mainly because no one thought to question it. 

I am begging you to question it.

Girls should have the exact same Bat Mitzvah as boys do. (If you are truly observant, and you believe in your heart that girls should not go on the bima and read from the Torah, I respect your decision and you may want to stop reading here).

If you are unreligious in every other way, and Shabbat is something that happens only in nursery school with grape juice and sliced challah, you need to think long and hard about why your daughter should not be treated like your son (or your imaginary son if you only have girls).

The group Bat Mitzvah gives the girls the message that they are less important than boys. Here's how:

1. When you put your daughter in a group Bat Mitzvah, she has to share the event with the other girls.  She will therefore automatically have a smaller part than if it were just her own personal Bat Mitzvah.  Right there you are telling her that she is less significant than a boy, who never has to share his Bar Mitzvah with anyone (except of course, the boys who share their Bar Mitzvahs with a sister or cousin but I already told you I am not talking about them so why do you keep bringing it up)

2. If you look at the group Bat Mitzvah as a money saving opportunity, you are saying to your daughter that she is worth less than a boy. If you had a boy, you wouldn't be able to throw him into a factory Bar Mitzvah group with a pile of other boys, split the guest list and therefore the expenses 14 ways and spend a year in committee meetings deciding what colour the sign-in book should be. You would have to do something spiritual for him - if only for appearance sake. If you couldn't afford a three ring circus for your son, you might show up at shul on a weekday and throw everyone a bissel schnaaps and a danish.  You can do the exact same thing for your daughter.

Some of you are thinking - budget is not an issue for me. I am going to put my daughter in a Group Bat Mitzvah and I am going to give her her own, separate Bat Mitzvah. What do you have to say about that Ms. Complaint Department?

(I am not impressed with that solution either. I don't like duplication.)

This brings us to

3. How many Bat Mitzvahs do you reasonably need? In the two Bat Mitzvah scenario, you are telling your daughter she absolutely must be part of the group. It is crucial that she do what everyone else is doing.   You do not need to stand out  you are telling her. You are instructing her to follow the group  even if it is not in concert with her particular values and morals. You are showing her that her role is to always compromise. She must be a good girl and go along with the group AND have her own Bat Mitzvah.

So here we are, teaching our daughters through the Group Bat Mitzvah that:

1. They are less important than the boys;
2. They are worth less money to us; and
3. They should always follow the group and try their best to blend in.

Then we wonder how they end up making less money.

Maybe we should be teaching our kids that:

1. Boys can have a group Bar Mitzvah too (even the playing field)
2. It's not out of the question to mix the groups and have B'nei Mitzvahs available for girls and boys together
3. Girls who like the group thing can learn together, study their lines and do good deeds together in preparation for their Bat Mitzvahs but ultimately can have their own ceremonies; and
4. It is INSANE that in 2013 women are still making only 81 cents on the dollar compared to men.

When you see injustice please question it.

A fairer world starts with you.

21 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete