Why do privileged people always win

Fratzscher's distribution issues / equality: Man's fear of equality

Do we men have to fear equality between women? As a white, Christian, of German origin, heterosexual and well-educated man in Germany one could hardly be more privileged and therefore, at least according to the fear of many, have the most to lose from gender equality. That is why many men avoid the subject like the devil avoids holy water. We men are also winners of equality.

Privileges are invisible to the people who are privileged. It is not easy to admit that what one has achieved in one's life is not only the result of one's own decisions and efforts, but also depends to a large extent on happiness and the circumstances in which one was born - the country, time and family into which one was born becomes; of skin color, environment, and the many people who shape your own life. And of your own gender.

It cannot be denied that we men enjoy many advantages in society and in professional life, which affect our status, influence and role in the family. Although men today do not have better education and training than women, they often have a significantly better career start, in jobs with higher wages and better opportunities for advancement. The dominance of men in key positions in professional life makes it easier for them to build networks and open up career opportunities.

Equality can mean more competition

These advantages increase sharply with starting a family, as women take longer breaks more often and the state and society make every effort to make it more difficult to return to work - as the still inadequate care infrastructure and numerous financial and tax disadvantages show. It is therefore not surprising that men enjoy higher salaries, better career opportunities, more protection and higher professional status.

Removing these hurdles for women can therefore easily be perceived as a threat by men. Ultimately, equality means more competition, poorer career and advancement opportunities, possibly lower wages and incomes. Sometimes, however, men understand equality as moral criticism. After all, who would like to hear that your own successes and achievements were only possible because you enjoyed advantages yourself? It is therefore not surprising that the topic hits a nerve with many men.

But the supposed disadvantages should be contrasted with the advantages of real equality. First, there is the question of which society we want to live in. The overwhelming majority of Germans, including men, understand justice in our society when the achievements of every person are equally respected and rewarded and when people can meet all of their basic needs. The vast majority, on the other hand, feel that it is unfair when success is linked to demands and claims. So if equal opportunities are so important to us as a society, then this should also apply to women.

Second, men benefit massively economically from equality. The economic boom and with it the wage increases of the past ten years are primarily due to a sharp increase in the employment of women. More and more women are filling important gaps in skilled workers, especially in social professions that are becoming increasingly important. The sharp increase in female employment also plays a central role in safeguarding our social systems, which would otherwise no longer be sustainable. And women make teams and companies more successful because they can often bring in different perspectives and open up new options. Diversity is a great strength and thus also creates considerable economic added value for everyone, including men.

Third, many men also want to strengthen equality in the family. The vast majority of women work part-time, but many want to increase their hours and pursue careers. At the same time, many fathers would like to reduce their working hours in order to have more time for the family. They want a partnership at eye level, with an equal distribution of tasks and responsibilities with their partners. More and more men are rejecting the traditional role model in which the man is the main breadwinner in the family and obstacles are placed in the way of their female partners in their professional life.

All of this does not mean that equality should be compulsory. On the contrary, real equality ultimately means more freedom, more options not only for women, but also for men, in both professional and private life.

Now it's up to politics. From a better care and educational infrastructure to reducing tax disadvantages and disincentives, there is still a lot to be done, even if a lot of progress has been made in recent years (such as parental allowance or the right to a daycare place).

The greatest hurdle to real equality is and remains the lack of mentality and awareness in our society that equality is in the interests of all people. It's not just about women saying what they want and what they don't. Men too must finally speak up more strongly and underline that they too benefit from real equality and demand it.