Friday, November 24, 2017

Scouts - Slow But Positive Change

I was a Cub Scout leader for many years. The Boy Scouts is a great organization but the one thing that always bothered me about the Boy Scouts is that it is "boy" to the exclusion of girls. People in the U.S. might be surprised but in most countries it is just Scouts and everyone is welcome.

Now the Boy Scouts are allowing girls to join. Slowly though.
Starting in 2018, families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack.  Cub Scout dens will be single-gender
So still basically gender apartheid but I have no doubt eventually "separate but equal" will go away and they will fully integrate.  In the United kingdom, where Scouting started (another thing most Americans probably do not know), full gender integration occurred in 1991.

I have heard many people say they should remain separate. Usually because they believe that girls are better able to develop leadership skills without boys around.  To me this seems quite sexist as the argument implicitly assumes that girls are less capable than boys.

My standard technique of swapping here helps. If you believe that it is better to have single sex Scout organizations think about this - would it be okay to single race Scouting organizations? White Scouts and Black Scouts? Most people (I hope) would say no. 

The problem is that deep down many people really do not believe in gender equality.

Gender equality means alimony is rare to non-existent and when it does happen women pay 50% of the time as opposed to the less than 2% they currently do. Equality means that 18 year old women have to register for the draft just like men do. Equality means that all positions in the military are open to women and half the combat deaths are women. Equality means that if a single man and a single woman are on a sinking ship with one seat left on the life raft it is not automatic the woman gets the seat. These are hard things to accept, even for me, but they are true.

Equality necessarily means equal responsibility. Without it, many will argue, quite logically, that men should be paid more than women. People fighting for gender equality would be a lot more effective if they advocated for equal responsibility as a first premise.

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