Friday, March 07, 2008

House of Men, House of Women

What if men and women had separate but equal roles in government?

I was reading an article in Discover Magazine about whether the impulse toward war was innate and inevitable or not. One group says it is and point to the chimpanzees, who are vicious fighters. One group points to the bonobos, who prefer to work things out and follow up with lots of sex.

One anthropologist, Richard Wrangham, is in the "war is innate" camp. But like those on the other side of the issue, he does think we can overcome our propensity to fight.
Primate violence is not blind and compulsive, he asserts, but rather calculating and responsive to circumstance. Chimpanzees fight "when they think they can get away with it," he says, "but they don't when they can't. And that's the lesson that I draw for humans."
Much depends, he says, on the empowerment of women.
He points out that as female education and economic opportunities rise, birthrates tend to fall. A stablized population lessens demands on governmental and medical services and on natural resources; hence, the likelihood of social unrest also decreases. Ideally, Wrangham says, these trends will propel more women into government.

"My little dream," he confesses, is that all nations give equal decision-making power to two entities, "a House of Men and a House of Women."
What an interesting idea. The trend in civic life has to try to erase distinctions between men and women, to be "gender blind." I don't know if this idea of giving each gender its own co-equal legislature is feasible or not. Any responses?

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home