Connect with us

General News

Gender disparity isn’t always a negative thing



More by this Author

East Africa’s English-language information organs, especially newspapers, habitually use the term gender disparities negatively.

A typical example occurred on page one of the Daily Nation on November 29. A senior sub-editor wrote: “Riddle of gender disparities in HIV-Aids deaths”. I say “senior” sub-editor for a clear reason.

All over the world, a newspaper’s page one is handled at a very high editorial level. It is habitually done very professionally.

As a rule, that page never “goes to bed” until the chief editor himself or herself has ticked it.

“To go to bed” is a newsroom term which, with reference to page make-up, means to pass from the hands of journalists into the quite differently shaped hands of printing employees.

That is an extraordinarily important fact because embarrassing mistakes originate somewhere in the long process.

And, the next morning, there is a bad-tempered exchange of words as to who was responsible for what bloomer. As chief sub and then managing editor of the Daily Nation, I was keenly aware of this problem.

For, more often than not, such bloomers originate from reporters, stringers and other non-professional writers. In a country like Kenya, the language of journalism and of government activities has been borrowed from as far afield as beyond the Mediterranean Sea.

The numerous human physical differences had been imposed on our species by nature herself and for her own usually benign purposes.

Yet, strutting over us like peacocks and peahens, members of Caucasian tribes suddenly poured into our continent to display their “whiteness”, their straightness of hair and their thinness of lips, alleging these were the apogee of beauty when the deity was creating our species.

But later — in classrooms manned by the Caucasian colonialists themselves — we came to discover the real natural origins of all such external human differences.

We found out the physical characteristics of each race were excellent for it in its particular environmental circumstances.

We discovered that, near the poles, there is nothing better than to be born a Caucasian. We discovered that, along the equator, there is nothing better than to be born curly haired, thick-lipped and black skinned.

Moreover, nature deserves to be perennially congratulated on its apparent awareness of how drab and how boring it would be if human beings were all the same colour of skin, all the same texture of hair, all the same size of lips — indeed, all the same culture and all speaking the same language.

Already, indeed, nature is displaying its propensity to reduce humankind to that drab universal sameness.

Through inter-ethic and inter-racial marriages and flings, humanity — nature’s most creative product so far — is very busy helping nature precisely in that direction.

That is why gender disparities appear to us as a negative aspect of society. But be careful because it depends on whether you are speaking biologically or only culturally.