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Men may take credit for conquering the frontier but women make it livable.  We are now zealously engaged in a new frontier of discovery in technology, economic entrepreneurialism, globalism and facing the limits of irrational growth on a finite planet. What is the just role of women in the 21st century and beyond?

Male domination is no longer suitable for the complex and delicate connectivity of an overpopulated, resource-drained and armed planet.

Biologically there is little question that women are the central pillar of the human community. The male’s testosterone motivated, larger, more muscular stature is certainly insufficient justification for dominance. It is the female lion that feeds the pride. It is the momma bear that protects and rears the cubs. It is the woman that raises the children and ensures family health. The mother usually holds sway over most major financial decisions made by the family.

Melvin Konner, MD, PhD. said, “…women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.”

Other than a slight edge in brute force, men have no biological or intellectual justification for the subservience of women. Only in the power sports do we see significant differences. Even there, on a pound for pound comparison, the differences are smaller than most would imagine.

Historically, men have taken every opportunity to hold women back from their full potential. In law, politics and religion, men have interpreted their role as superior instead of equal to women. In some cases women are simply chattel with no rights or authority of their own.

A husband might even be allowed to beat his wife — justification for a beating would be at the man’s discretion. Women are often afraid to report assault or even rape. They know the defense will typically attack her motives. Rape may be argued as assault with a “friendly” weapon motivated by the female. The blameless male simply interpreted “no!” as teasing consent.

Domestic violence statistics show that women are more likely to be killed by men than women killing men. Women experience a gender biased “glass ceiling” in nearly all occupations. As recently as the American frontier west, some states did not allow women to inherit property, to own land or borrow money from a bank. Women could not vote in America until 1920 when the 19th amendment was grudgingly ratified. Suffrage only came about when tens of thousands of women united to take on the male dominated establishment.

This brings us to the courage of women. If you are a male, try to imagine your reactions if half the global population was a head taller, stronger and with a tendency toward aggressive solutions to problems. Is it surprising that so many women rely more on their brains and negotiating skills? With all the chest beating testosterone present in todays global diplomacy, wouldn’t more female intellect and negotiating skill be helpful?

In 2017 more U.S. women died in childbirth than the next thirteen industrialized countries. Despite domestic violence, and a second-rate health care system biased toward men, women outlive men in the U.S. by more than 6 years.

Even in the U.S., 20 percent more male babies die in their first year than female babies (University of Southern California).

Now we come down to some really humbling statistics. The female of our species IS a tad smarter than the male.  Study after study puts cognitive intelligence comparison as roughly equal. Where women begin to pull ahead is the characterological trait measurement. It may be small but in the contest for “smarts,” girls win by a nose.

What is a characterological trait? That just means that females tend to buckle down and focus at the beginning of a task a tiny bit better than males.

The United States is going through another pang of growth for women. Sexual abuse is in the headlines. Male abuses of power is old news to women. Whether it is the interpretation of the law or interpretation of religious doctrine, men bend the rules to their benefit.

Recently I got into a rather heated debate with a commercial fisherman about a woman’s reproductive rights to birth control and abortion.

I debated the issue this way: This CEO owned half a dozen factory processing ships worth an average of several million dollars each. I asked him if the government regulated his business. He slammed his fists on the table, leaned forward and vehemently complained about what he thought were excessive regulations. He believed it was his right to catch, process and sell — or not sell — his catch as he thought fit. He took the risks and made the longterm investments. He monitored the market and determined if he could make a profit or go broke. He owned the factory vessels; therefore, he alone had the right to determine production, without interference.

Returning to the original topic of female reproductive rights, I asked him, “Who owns the baby factory lock stock and uterus?”  There was a lot of stammering but I think some of my point sank in.

Thousands of years of civilized misogyny has ingrained a false perception of feminine reality at the loss of at least half of the intellectual capacity of humanity.

Where are the women that make this “brave new world” livable? Where is the livable side of economic growth and prosperity?  American prosperity is measured in dollars. There is little mention of social wellbeing, family security, improving social justice, equality, child development or even the health and happiness of the electorate. Perhaps it is because that portion of our population that makes the frontier livable is ignored and forced to sit on the sidelines of human enterprise.

Women outlive men.  Female babies are tougher and have a higher survival rate than male babies. Women are of at least equal intelligence to the male and do it with a smaller more efficient brain. (Think of early computers that took up several stories of a large building to perform simple calculations). By what rationale should we consider the male of the human species the sole proprietor of human enterprise?

The Boston Women's March. (Photo: Carly Hagins / Flickr)

The Boston Women’s March. (Photo: Carly Hagins / Flickr)

Genetic engineering may soon make males superfluous. Perhaps males should make nice, lock arms with their better halves and face a precarious future together as respected partners.

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