Our human society has been well groomed to focus on and perpetuate the anatomical and emotional differences of women and men versus our spiritual and divine presence as creators, collaborators, and thought leaders. I bring this up not for a nasty debate but sharing a personal viewpoint after reading the Yahoo News interview by Katie Couric with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in which she shares that she believes the male Supreme Court justices who voted against her in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive ruling had a “blind spot” when it comes to women’s concerns.
From what I gather from the interview and article is that the Hobby Lobby court ruling makes it possible for employers to deny insurance coverage of contraceptives to female workers on religious grounds, which Justice Ginsburg believes they do not have a constitutional right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees who do not necessarily share the same views. Justice Ginsburg likened the ruling to a previous decision to an old Supreme Court ruling that discrimination against pregnant women was legal.
Hopeful for Evolving Mindset
While disappointed, Justice Ginsburg is not bitter, but rather graciously hopeful that the blind spot about women’s issues that she believes her male colleagues have will be removed with time. She especially believes that her male colleague’s perceptions can change when viewing those types of scenarios from a father’s (and husband’s) lens of his daughter’s (and wife’s) experiences. This reminds me of a scenario that was related to me about an elected official who was against funding cancer research but then learned that his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After seeing her health rapidly decline and the pain she was experiencing, his viewpoints changed about funding the research. His heart was softened because he was personally affected. That is what love does, it softens the heart.
So one takeaway that I have from Justice Ginsburg’s interview is that our daughters (and I include our considerate sons) of the Millenials are our possible great hope for gender equality and equal rights because they appear to see and approach the world so much differently than previous generations; maybe not so much through the Matrix lens. They are not necessarily bound by traditional and social beliefs and mindsets about gender roles but have a greater respect for understanding and developing meaningful relationships. When I listen to my college-educated son and his peers talk about life and their goals, I see the possibilities, too. Hopefully, they do not become jaded through unfair life experiences and turn cynical about the real possibilities of equality and fairness in life and relationships.
We’re in it Together
Maybe one day the male–female debate will not hinge on a dominant versus weaker sex but an evolved thinking that we are all in this together and have to work together to make it work, not against one another. At some point we all have to hold one another up, believes Ginsburg. Citing her 56 year marriage, she says that her now deceased husband respected her brain and valued her work as much as he did his, and that made all of the difference in their relationship and respect for one another.
Maybe one day that type of respect mindset will become the norm for all types of relationships. Call me overly optimistic, but maybe one day men will have a respect for women’s reproductive rights and understand why they shouldn’t feel comfortable making those types of decisions for women. Maybe one day women won’t feel the need to fight to be respected as a human being. Even at the age of 81, Justice Ginsburg sees and knows that it is possible. The better question is , do we believe that it is possible? I’d love to hear your thoughts.