COLUMN: Gender (in)equality in the modern world

After more than 50 years of feminism there are still places that deny education based on gender

A few weeks ago, I watched the grad parade down Main Street.

How wonderful to see all those lovely, young faces beaming with their accomplishments, dressed to the nines and brimming with hope for the new adventures ahead.

As they headed off to their night of celebrations, a wispy memory began to swirl around in my head.

My graduation party was held in the fancy ballroom of the Hotel Vancouver. Same gorgeous cars, lovely dresses and baby-blue tuxedoes. I’m sure my parents saw the same hopeful, shining faces when they looked at us.

As our grads prepare for new jobs, gap-year travels or their first year at a university away from home, I find myself revisiting the idea of post-secondary education and gender.

My older sister did not attend her grad ceremony or celebration. She had a fitting appointment for her wedding gown and fiancés were not allowed to attend grad celebrations if they were over the age of 19.

Indeed, many of her female classmates did not graduate because they left school to marry.

What a different world!

I watched my older brother pour over college catalogues and choose his program. My parents looked on approvingly and confirmed their financial support.

Three years later, I was confident when I brought home university brochures.

It was a terribly hard blow to discover my parents not only disagreed with my decision to go on to university; they also had no intention of lending me money for tuition or books.

They felt post-secondary education for girls was unnecessary, pointless and downright silly.

I then embarked on a furious job-finding expedition which landed me a summer job at the local salmon cannery.

Twelve-hour night shifts on the canning line earned me enough to cover my first year at the local community college.

So I began my journey into the world of gender inequality.

Rather than encourage me to “fill my hope chest, find a nice boy, learn how to sew and settle down,” that experience kindled the question inside me that has fuelled most of my life experiences: “Why can’t I do that?”

I am amazed that after more than 50 years of feminism there are still parts of the world and society that deny education based on gender.

In some ways, we have been standing still.

For some modern takes on this age-old issue, take a look at The time has come, by Michael Kaufman and Because I was a girl, by Melissa DeLaCruz.

Congratulations to all of our graduates and good luck wherever life leads you.

Sue Kline is the Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Jan. 16

First diesel train, bitterly cold weather and testing a magnetometer

Jocelyn’s Jottings: Scared by my latest hydro bill

Luckily I have set up an equal payment plan with BC Hydro… Continue reading

Snow, snow and snow for Revelstoke

The white stuff will continue to fall into next week

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

Have your say on what it takes raising toddlers in Revelstoke

The study started collecting data last summer and is expected to continue until at least May

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read