Equal rewards for boys and girls

We men are indeed a bunch of wankers aren’t we!? I read with utter disbelief this weekend that a leading school in Johannesburg is set to “overhaul its honours system policy.” And this only after a parent of one of the female learners at the school took it to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) because boys at the school receive “visible” recognition for achievement (special blazers, caps, badges) and girls receive a handshake and a pat on the back, and oh yeah, a certificate.

The issue is an old chestnut and has been around for as long as we can remember. Only as recently as 2007, did one of the world’s most prestigious tennis institutions, Wimbledon, agree to pay women equal prize money. Indeed, throughout the history of mankind, women have been reduced to play the role of inferior partner to their male counterparts.

While it’s not difficult to understand how this came about, given our physical superiority, surely, brute strength is no longer a synonym for overall superiority? This business about treating men and women differently for doing the same job does not sit well with me.

The school in question being a case in point! I mean, if Hannah was to receive the highest marks in the school and all she got was a handshake and a certificate, and if a boy achieved the same and received a special blazer, cap and everything else that goes with it, I’d be just as livid as the parent in question. In response to the HRC’s findings the school who “maintained its belief that the different recognition practices did not amount to harmful or inappropriate discrimination” have decided to “commence a process of research, discussion and communication aimed at finding the best way for the school as a whole to deal with the issue of awards and recognition.”

What needs to be debated? What needs to be researched? Our daughters have nothing more to prove! They occupy the highest offices in the land (Prime Ministers like Merkel and Thatcher). They’re captains of industry (the list of female CEOs of major companies is a Google search away). They excel to the same dizzy heights in sport as men do (how many titles did Navratilova win?). But if you want to split hairs, and I don’t think that this should even be an issue, school children in particular should have equal recognition. Because it is here that the men of the future will learn respect and admiration for women.

During our formative years we are the most susceptible to influence, good or bad. What better way to ensure that a grown man one day has an ingrained respect, aspiration and admiration for women, than to demonstrate to him as a child that the girls in his world are just as smart, if not smarter, and equally capable of achieving literally anything under the sun, give or taking lifting a heavy object or two. Come on guys, lets stop jerking around on this issue and end this supidity.

Do you find that boys tend to get more recognition than girls at schools?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams
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