A Woman’s Place

When is discussing the rights of women going to be off the table?

Women shouldn’t be in universities. School, education and knowledge are rights reserved for males. Men should be in classrooms, they should have the right to exercise this superiority over women in any educational setting. Universities and colleges, up until the early 1900, were exclusively for men. Allowing women to enter school hasn’t had positive results for society. What contributions have women made in medicine, education, the arts and society? What women of note are making a substantial change in the world today? Clearly, women should know their place – in the home – where they can contribute most. Leave education to men who are obviously more capable and competent in the matter. Women should return to their rightful places, and situations like these are encouraging the return of women to their natural place.

Who are women to demand equal pay in a work setting?

Who are women to demand respect from their peers and colleagues?

Who are women to take it upon themselves to be educated?

Who are women to rise above the limiting circumstances they are placed in?

Who are women to dare to be more intelligent, successful and aware than men?

Who are women to choose not to bear children?

Who are women to think and make decisions themselves, not seeking approval from others?

Who are women to be “Strong”?

Who are women to be weak?

Who are women to demand society pay for the injustices done to their race?

Who are women to be comfortable in their skin, their uniquely large, skinny, curvy, boney, pale, dark, bumpy, smooth bodies?

Who are women to demand the right as humans to simply exist?

Who are women to be?

These are just some of the conventional, misogynistic values being reinforced by cases like this. A student taking an online course at York University claims that for religious reasons he cannot meet up with his group (which contains females) in public to do a group project. He asked to be exempt from the project, but the professor J. Paul Grayson, denied his request. When the case was brought to York’s administration, they overruled the Professor Grayson, granting the student exemption from the assignment.

Now, everyone has their own religious beliefs and is entitled to them. Religion is a personal, private matter and no one should have to reconcile or compromise their beliefs. In Canada, everyone has the freedom to express and practice the religion of their choice. However, in a public setting such as a university in which it is explicitly understood to be a public institution, you cannot expect personal, private beliefs that infringe upon the rights of others to be upheld.

I’m sorry for some men who are unaware of this inconvenient truth, but any job you are likely get, in almost any country, will involve you working with, over or under women. I’m sorry. I don’t know why, but women don’t seem to be satisfied with marginalization anymore. For some odd, unimaginable reason, they want to be treated as humans.

Making exceptions for this one student doesn’t promote religious respect; it perpetuates ignorance and allows women to be forever discriminated against in society, work and school. If the injustice were racist or homophobic in nature, I doubt the Dean would have been so quick to hand out sanctions. If anything, the university should have looked into the religious belief that inhibited the student’s participation in the assignment. The religion of the student wasn’t disclosed, but any religious belief that undermines the value of another human being should be scrutinized. As I said, religion is a private, personal matter. People will believe what they want to believe, whether it is in their best interest or not. However, nobody, regardless of their sex, religion, race, sexual orientation, education or birth has the right to demand others comply with these beliefs.

This unfortunate event has offended people internationally. The professor who stood his ground is being commended, and the university that has for decades proclaimed equality and female education has been condemned. Discussion is good; outrage an appropriate response to this injustice. But when is discussing the rights of women going to be off the table?

This is not an attack on religion or men in general. If this injustice is to be rectified, we need to overlook cosmetic differences between men and women and see that we are fundamentally the same. We are human.

Substitute “Jew” with women, homosexuals or any group of people that have experienced discrimination and the injustices felt by Shylock as a human are the same.

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.

(3.1. 56–61)

Should York have granted these sanctions? Is this discriminatory against the female students in the group? Are women still secondary citizens though make up half the world’s population? Lastly, have you experienced any discrimination or injustice yourself?