While the public is seeing a tsunami of sex-abuse allegations, let’s push gender equality

Greater gender equality can erode the power that enables male abuse of women. Push that agenda now, while the public is paying attention.

Windows of opportunity don’t last long, so now may be a good time to push an idea that may seem difficult to grasp: Women are people not that different from men in most ways.

I am aware of some of the very real differences that mark gender, though even those are not always absolutely binary. But those differences don’t define everything else about a person, and they don’t say anything about superiority or inferiority. Yet we are socialized to believe that they do. Fortunately, cultures can change.

This moment for considering gender relationships draws from attention now paid to sexual harassment, abuse and even rape committed by prominent men against women, some of them also famous.

So many women have shared their stories, and so many big names have been accused, that it’s becoming hard to keep track of them individually. Eventually, the public’s interest will fade, but I believe this moment will leave us changes in our culture that will make it hard for any organization to tolerate harassment and abuse.

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I hope it will also make individuals not just wary of being outed, but incapable of harassing or abusing another person.

The change has to be deeper for the latter to happen. We have to snip the link between sex and power. Power is the catalyst that allows and even encourages abusive behavior. And that power grows from a belief in male superiority. How often do people respect those who are less powerful than themselves? Power invites abuse.

The accusations getting public attention are against men who have great and obvious power. Harvey Weinstein could boost careers in Hollywood or destroy them. Roy Moore, who just lost a Senate election in Alabama, is accused of preying on girls when he was in his 30s. A few days…

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