Equality is a word that is being bandied about in the corporate world, but what does it mean? And what does it mean for us socially, in our local communities, and for us as individuals?
In the business world, equal pay for women is a recurring theme, and many organisations ensure that pay levels are the same for particular jobs, regardless of whether the employee is a man or a woman. However, it is also a well known fact that there are more men in higher levels of work, so logically their average pay will be higher across the board.
For example, in Australia:
- Women make up 15.4% of CEO positions
- Although 27.4% of key management personnel positions are held by women, one-quarter of organisations continue to have no women in those positions whatsoever
- Women hold 33% of senior management roles
- Women represent 23.6% of board directors. (1)
So, although politically equality is supposed to be in place, in reality, it’s not and there are other areas where inequality is still rife.
My own experience of inequality is two-fold:
- I was born in the Middle East where girl babies are not appreciated as much as boy babies, and even though my parents were both English, we were surrounded by an Arab community that felt sorry for my father because he had three girls. My parents didn’t impose any views about my being a girl, but I hated being a girl; I felt that girls were weak and I wanted to be a boy. I even did engineering at university where I was the only girl in a class of 72 men. I soon moved out of engineering and into working with people, but it has taken me a long time to understand what it means to live as a woman and to appreciate the strengths and qualities of stillness, tenderness and nurturing that I can bring.
- I was mainly brought up in the UK, attending a Catholic boarding school while my parents were still abroad. In England particularly, there is still a class system of snobbery – you are judged on the size of your house, the job you do and many other factors, and we were brought up to look down on others, to dismiss people who were living on the streets, for example.
I look back in horror at the attitudes I developed as a result of these ways of being. Since meeting Serge Benhayon, and hearing him explain how truly equal we all are, I have taken a different viewpoint. Instead of constantly putting myself down or the opposite, looking down upon others, I am beginning to understand that everyone is the same deep inside, just expressing who they are in different ways.
I am learning the joy of knowing that everyone we meet, no matter how they are living, can present us with a different perspective on life and it is not for us to judge, but to simply observe. Not to get sucked in or feel sympathy or jealousy or any emotion – just observe. We all have an innate ability to read people and situations, and the more we allow that awareness to be, the more easily we can understand what’s going on in the world and allow what is, whilst at the same time taking steps towards making a positive contribution to humanity.
As I see it, my responsibility is to develop my ability to feel, to honour what I feel and to express from my essence, that point of deep connection with the inner stillness we all have within. From there I can feel the essence of everybody I meet, knowing that we are all the same. No one is less or more, I am not less or more, I am the same as you, you are the same as me.
This is my current understanding of equality and what it means. Although I have qualifications in engineering, management and teaching, in recent years I have been doing what some may see as more menial jobs (cleaner, checkout girl, café assistant). I’ve let go of the identification with what I do and I am having fun meeting everybody as equals. I’m learning that it’s the quality we bring to everything that we do that matters.
As I look around the world, I feel sad at the wars that are taking place, fuelled by religion, jealousy, greed – all the emotions that come from people feeling separate and unequal to others. It makes me even more aware of how every time I judge or criticise another – or feel in any way less or superior – that I too am contributing to that sense of inequality. We all need to understand, though in our outward expression we may be different, in our deepest essence we are the same. We have all made different choices and where we are is the result of those choices, but we are all on the same path of return to whence we came, and it is for us to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate each other as equals on this path.
By Carmel Reid, Catering Assistant, Somerset UK
~ Warzone kitchens: Michelin stars, gender equality and fire in our bellies
~ International Women’s Day: In the pledge for parity, we’re fighting a war we cannot win
~ The Gentle Breath Meditation™ – How It has Supported Me to Feel Again
~ Women Speak 101