Sunday, September 17, 2017


As I do most years, last Sunday I rode the Saint Paul Classic bike tour. During the ride, I noticed that when people rode tandem bikes it was always, without exception, a man in front and a woman in back. This got me thinking.

I'll admit that if S and I rode a tandem bike I would feel a bit odd riding in the rear. Emotionally not intellectually. I suspect nearly everyone, men and women, would feel the same. But it is still wrong. Just as wrong as my post-college roommate who never let his girlfriend drive despite the fact that she was an excellent driver and they often took her car.

Why is it wrong? Ask yourself this?  Is it uncomfortable to see a woman as CEO of a company or leader of a country? Not for me but for many it is. But I cannot be so smug because, as I say, it would be a bit uncomfortable for me to ride in the back of a tandem bike. (not that I would ever ride one as in general they seem strange to me) If it is uncomfortable to see a woman in front on a tandem bike, isn't that the same mental construct as being uncomfortable seeing a woman as CEO of a company or leader of a country? It is a long journey.

Many years ago, I stated that we would not see the light at the end of the tunnel for ending discrimination agaisnt blacks until we regularly saw mixed race couples in advertisements. Ditto for discrimination agaisnt gays. And today, I am happy to say, it is not uncommon to see mixed race and same sex couples. No doubt, we still have a ways to go but the path is clear.

I have also noticed that in the United States, hotel maids are almost always women. But in Europe this is not the case. Another area where we need to make some progress.

My mother was a nurse. Back then nearly almost all nurses were women and most doctors were men. Now the mix of graduates coming out if medical (and law, and dental) schools is pretty much equal between men and women.

And of course the fact that 98+ percent of the time men are the ones who pay alimony is another example of unfairness. 

The important thing, the thing most people do not do, is think about these things. To reflect. That is what makes us human. That is how positive change happens.

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