A new report is out this week from The Equality and Human Rights Commission evidencing much that is unequal in society today, not least the gap in pay between men and women that still prevails in 2010. A nonsense, clearly something should be done to address this. Indeed there is much we could all do to try to ensure greater balance in terms of how people are treated. However, for me the reaction of the Chairman of the Commission was the most frightening element of the report. According to Trevor Phillips “there was a risk of society being divided by inequality”.
No kidding Trevor! You needed a report to confirm this?
Inequality exists everywhere. It is part of nature. Some are physically strong, some are weak, some are fast, some are slow, some are incredibly intelligent, some less so. We are all born with some advantages and some disadvantages, some more than others. Some are physical, some are circumstantial, some are based on history, some on geography. The list goes on.
So what do we do? Sit around and envy the advantages of others, or seek to understand our own advantages and how we can make the best of what we are blessed with?
I am not suggesting inequality is a good thing. Frankly it sucks. However it exists and has done since the dawn of time. There is a reason why the Lion is the King of the Jungle. Yet he still co – exists with all the other animals. To suggest in 2010 that society is at risk of being divided because of inequality is a nonsense. Society has always been divided. Can we do anything about it?
The truth is life is a survival of the fittest (and not necessarily the fittest physically). We can’t all be Prime Minister, Brain Surgeons, England Centre Forward, Village Elder, King, Queen, Pope, Imam, Chairman, Carer, Nurse, Teacher. We can’t all discover the cure for cancer, discover electricity, be Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. We can’t all be Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi.
Sure life is not always fair. Sure life deals some a far worse hand than others. Life is all about making the very most of the cards that you have been dealt. We can all think of people who have been dealt a dreadful hand and achieved incredible things. We can also all think of someone who would appear to have had every advantage in life and screwed up.
Highlighting how unequal life can be, how “unfair” it can appear helps no – one, offers no solution, guidance, motivation. Help people to see opportunities, not problems. Help people to overcome challenges, don’t just tell them they exist. We all have a place of equal value, we all have a contribution to make of equal importance. The sooner we help people to understand that we all have a role to play the sooner we will have true equality.