The equality of women has been an issue for many years. It is currently more of an issue when it becomes apparent to the public about how women are treated in the political arena by some of their male colleagues. This is because these people are in a leadership position yet you have to wonder what their attitude towards women is.
It’s great that this issue is being raised yet again and each time the topic is raised, people become more educated. I believe, and hope, that it helps us get closer to achieving equality and respect for all – women and men alike, regardless of our differences.
Respect is an attitude that can be instilled in all of us. Growing up I recall being told to ‘show some respect’ followed by instructions on how to do that. I was told to be courteous to others, my siblings, neighbours, visitors, actually everyone I met. I was expected to say hello and goodbye and look people in the eye and be friendly. Always, always say please and thank you. It meant giving up the front seat of the car to anyone older than me. Being helpful to people in need, such as the aged if they dropped something at the grocery check-out and picking up whatever they dropped and handing it back to them.
That comment was also aimed at my behaviour and actions – how I spoke, dressed, acted. While I may have argued at the time, I can see the wisdom behind the words (more of an explanation at the time would have been helpful though!)
Respect is an attitude of treating everyone with value. Being courteous, considerate, thoughtful, helpful and friendly is something that’s good to aspire to (without putting ourselves in danger of course.
Another way of showing respect was always telling the truth and being honest. This was high on the list of behaviour expected by all of us. I would have liked a bit more honesty, or rather openness, than what I received but then again I understand that my parents grew up with their parents thinking “children should be seen and not heard” and like all parents, they attempted to adjust to the changes that each generation brings without a parenting guide.
I grew up with brothers and sisters and although we were always taught to be respectful there were still some old-fashioned belief systems that my parents had that we children didn’t.
I’m the eldest of five children and the youngest two are boys. There’s a five-year gap between the youngest girl and the oldest boy. The boys were like little dolls that we got to dress up and mother (maybe there should be an s at the beginning of mother!). However, as we grew up we girls realise that the boys were not expected to help with the housework as much as we were.
Naturally, we girls objected constantly, and the boys were given tasks also – minor tasks – but they were younger and probably age-appropriate.
Parents can have belief systems (with a capital B and S) instilled in us that aren’t always true – or right. However, we all have a moral compass as well as internal instincts that tell us when something is right or wrong.
Another saying I often heard growing up was “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. These were wise words that aren’t always adhered to on social media. The opposite happens and some people mask themselves behind nasty and critical social media comments.
As I write this I live in a township cut off by floods and this topic brings to mind a comment on a local community page asking about the local supermarket and when they would have supplies. Another person responded with “I phoned them, and they said they’re sorting something out”.
My thoughts were how kind this person was as they took the time to call the supermarket and then shared their response. The original person then criticised the helpful person by stating something critical. Was this necessary or kind? No. Just because the person who asked the question didn’t know or understand how it would all pan out she couldn’t accept that others accepted it would all be OK in the end.
Why do people think it’s OK to criticise others? I wonder if they realise, they are the ones who make themselves look bad, not the person they are being critical of. By the way, supplies were helicoptered in.
Still, I believe in karma, and what goes around comes around. I have a sneaking feeling that one day the people who put unnecessary nasty comments on social media will eventually be unmasked and displayed to the world just like people who thought they could get away with murder because DNA didn’t exist at the time of their crime.
The recent and current news is full of victims of sexual harassment and abuse by people who have or held powerful positions and think they could get away with the abuse of women. Those women are now speaking up for themselves and naming their perpetrators for the good of justice. This takes courage and faith in the justice system which I hope prevails. Years ago, many men who were sexually abused as boys also have come forward. I admire their assertiveness, courage and confidence.
Years ago, I recall reading an article about how a man accidentally signed off an email using his female colleagues signature and was surprised at the response he got. He knew how talented she was and soon realised from the responses the got that she was being treated very differently from him. Click here to read.
Another article I’d like to share is this one – for the purpose of men understanding women and knowing how their wives, daughters, sisters, friends and colleagues may feel. Read here.
Respect is a two-way street and it’s not hard to do if you practice acceptance of people’s differences and choices. It doesn’t matter that they are different from you as long as no-one is harmed or put into a harmful position, including themselves, that’s what matters.
As my mum used to say “If you can’t say anything kind, don’t say anything at all”. Let’s start with that.
Respect is shown is so many different ways.
If you’d like some inspiration to share and teach one positive characteristic each week, I’ve created a weekly blog which focusses on one positive characteristic a week which will help you teach your child how to practice respect. You can find me on Facebook (Trish Corbett – Author & Life Coach) and ‘Join The Tribe’.