01/15/2013 02:57 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

Domesticating Wolves


Strides in the women's movement have been made in our country but more work is needed to assure women's equal pay for equal work, to stop hate crimes against women such as rape and domestic violence, and to guarantee the sanctity of each woman's reproductive rights remain for her to decide on. These issues concern all of us, women and men.

However, there is a bias against men by some women's rights activists. There are men who share an egalitarian view, and the gradual ascension toward equality needs to include men to carry on the progress. But some women activists and their organizations exclude males, or at least distrust them, and a reverse discrimination is set in place. Perhaps even these words themselves would be better received were they to come from a woman. It is not a man's world, nor is it a woman's world. The egalitarianism we seek is equal parts the responsibility of females and males.

Ultimately, when gender equality is achieved, men's immaturity will largely be targeted as the reason why the male domination stranglehold lasted so long. But further thought will also show that the women's movement, once it had firm footing as it does now in this country, did not strategically mobilize their victories for further gains by bringing into the center men who support the cause. From the outside looking in it is evident that equality can exist only where equality is practiced.

This is to suggest the moral and ethical responsibility be shifted reasonably between women and men in showing what is expected of us in an egalitarian society.

The women's movement in the United States and much of the West has been a remarkable demonstration of how to successfully bring about non-violent social reform. So why this call now for a shift in strategy? Because it is in the rest of the world where we must accelerate our efforts in support of women's rights.

Two weeks ago, news outlets across the world reported on the Indian woman gang-raped and murdered in New Delhi. In response, there was international outrage against this unspeakable inhumanity. I love Hilary Clinton as much as many of you do. She is a remarkable spirit. Yet as we praise this one woman's greatness as a measure of the movement's success, we must also mourn this one Indian woman's horror and that of the millions of others like her around the world who suffer atrocities and abuses not because they did anything wrong. But rather only because they are females.

This is why it is so important for the successful women's movement to break its silent embargo against men, particularly egalitarian-minded ones, simply because they are males. For example, look at the faculty at university women's studies programs and the committee members at non-profit support groups. It is understandable that distrust by women is present. After all, who to better advocate for women's rights than women? Or, are "these helpful men" really wolves in sheep's clothing?

Though building trust is not easy, at this time, the atrocities committed against women in parts of the world are so inhumane that we must take that chance and learn to trust. Glass ceilings and sexism are indeed real problems women in this country face. They are problems we need to resolve and the solutions can be nonviolently championed by women as has largely been the case with other equal rights progress.

But the tactics for elsewhere need more than what has gotten us this far in the West because we face unfit men in power, real wolves who make no innocent disguises for themselves.The approach needs to consider this as a human rights issue and not singularly as a woman's problem. Away from here chauvinism can equal a license for violence. Mutilation can equal perverse justice. Infancy can equal infanticide.

We have a responsibility. We women and men have a responsibility to share our success in gaining more gender equality. In order to succeed beyond our own Western cultures we must accomplish the difficult task of rebuilding a trust for equality between ourselves, women and men. From that platform, we can more urgently help save lives in less developed cultures.