While I Live

Image courtey of Flickr/Edu Alpendre

I’ve come to the conclusionthat chief diversity officers have the patience of saints. There’s simply no other explanation for their continued existence.

Patience is not one of my strongest attributes, but since I began covering this industry in 2008 you all have taught me a thing or two about staying the course and finding humor in situations that might otherwise move me to tears.

Take the article I read recently detailing all of the items of clothing women globally were harassed or penalized for wearing in 2014. These items included: skirts, shorts, leggings, trousers, underwear, prom dresses, regular dresses, burqas and hijabs. Makeup, while not clothing, was also on the list.

Now let’s look at that list again. If we remove every item what’s left? Nothing.

If all women wore nothing — because everything else is so problematic — what would happen? As Holly Golightly said in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”: “I must say, the mind reels.”

One day, I hope clothes won’t matter as much as a woman’s ideas or capabilities. One day we’ll look back on a time when a Qatari women’s basketball team was forced to forfeit a match because the hijab isn’t allowed or when a young girl was shamed at her prom because of her dress, and shake our heads at how shortsighted and silly it all was.

Of course, that may not happen while I’m alive. But I shall continue to do my little part to advance a dialogue promoting gender equality and point a finger at the ridiculousness of pastors in Kenya who think they have the right to ban female congregants from wearing underwear because it prevents them from feeling closer to God or students in Canada being pulled from their classes for having visible bra straps.

Until that day, I suppose I’ll just have to be patient.