Gender violence – whose issue is it?
When I say gender violence, I bet you think the word gender means women. Right? Wrong, according to Jason Katz. In today’s powerful TedX Talk, one with over 2 million views, Katz builds on our Wednesday feature about Silent Women.
As an author, filmmaker and educator, Katz says the women’s movement has improved more than the lives of women and girls. Men and boys have also benefitted. And yet, we continue to focus our language on fixing challenges that affect women without considering the role of men.
This singular focus explains what I know to be true: the next step for ending gender violence and solving inequities connected to gender must include both genders – women and men.
I love that Katz recognizes the efforts of trailblazing women and how their work improves the lives of men and boys. When we talk about gender issues, men are suspiciously absent. This free pass suggests they don’t have a role to play in the problem or, for that matter, the solution.
But gender does not mean women. Instead, systemic social structures reinforce the power structure of men. So as we head into the weekend, think about how language matters when you are trying to build positive change around gender issues.
Knowing that gender issues are not female, maybe it’s time to turn the tables and ask not why we talk about silent women when the conversation should be about silent men?