Men and Women: How Common, How Different?
It is important to note that women do not need to prove their worth and gain their rights by using the standard of men. Not all jobs that men do should or can be done by women, and vice versa.
By Cyma Khan
People often talk about the capabilities of men and women. The fact of men and women being fellow humans highlights the element of sameness, while their biological differences suggest their difference. And what about their capabilities? Are they the same? Or are they different? Or a bit of both?
In early Muslim history, both men and women played important social roles. Some such women were so highly and socially active that almost every field was blessed with their wisdom, intellect and participation, be it education, interpretation of religion, the fine arts, trade and commerce, agriculture, medicine or nursing, all in consonance with Quranic teachings. This is a legacy that needs to be remembered.
But in this regard it is important to note that women do not need to prove their worth and gain their rights by using the standard of men. Not all jobs that men do should or can be done by women, and vice versa. Gender equality and empowerment do not mean gender sameness in social roles. It is as absurd to ask “If a man can do this, then why can’t a woman?” as it is to say, “If a woman can do this, then why can’t a man?”. Each gender has its own standard, with their own responsibilities and tasks. There are similarities and commonalities, but this doesn’t mean they are identical. Men and women have been created with some common characteristics, but also with some distinctive ones, which should not be ignored in the name of gender equality. Instead of comparing oneself with the opposite sex, it’s better to learn one’s own responsibility and fulfil it, remaining firmly with one’s own individuality.