Sexual equality is a never-ending debate that has lasted hundreds of years without any obvious ‘winner’. After all the innovations we have made, how is it we are still playing an equality tug of war? 2018 has given us extensive proof that gender equality has become an increasing issue. Both sexes have faced battles over sexual abuse, pay and working standards. In some cases, it has caused harm to those involved. But who can we hold accountable for starting this?

At the beginning of time men and women were designed to work as a team; with different roles and attributes. Men were created to be stronger, with 40 per cent greater upper body strength and an estimated 33 per cent higher, lower body strength. They were also designed to have a 95 per cent higher grip than women. These traits would have been ideal for hunter gatherers. Their female partners on the other hand, were equipped with superior hearing. It meant they could hear much higher frequencies than their male counterparts and be able to identify any potential dangers. In addition to this; women were also created with wider hips for child bearing and milk glands for feeding infants. However, after thousands of years, we have created a hierarchy within ourselves. At some point, someone must have decided that men were superior to women.

Before we can investigate further, we need to delve into the history of gender equality. We need to understand how it is defined. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘gender equality does not imply that women and men are the same, but that they have equal value and should be accorded equal treatment’. Somehow, the individual qualities that make us great have separated us and society has become a minefield of who’s best. So how did this happen? How did we, as a human race do this?

 Mark Dyble, an anthropologist, from University College London conducted a study with relation to prehistoric inhabitants. He argues:

‘there is still this wider perception that hunter-gatherers are more macho or male-dominated. We’d argue it was only with the emergence of agriculture, when people could start to accumulate resources that inequality emerged’.

He states further:

‘men can start to have several wives and they can have more children than women. It pays more for men to start accumulating resources and becomes favourable to form alliances with male kin’.

This would have started a rift between the sexes, allowing men to see women as objects for their survival. Dyble believed this to be true. Recognizing that prehistoric people could have played a pivotal role in both societal and human evolution. ‘Sexual equality is one of an important suite of changes to social organisation, including things like; pair bonding, our big, social brains, and language that distinguishes humans’. Going on to explain that sexual equality, is the most significant change.

Dyble’s study argued that sexual equality might have become an evolutionary advantage, for early man. One reason for this could have been the development of social networking and the forging of new relationships with unrelated individuals. This would have given inhabitants a wider choice of partners, decreasing the chance of inbreeding. It could have also increased the opportunity to make innovations and share ideas.

Furthermore, from a neurological point of view, men and women are clearly very different. The male brain is 10 per cent larger than the female brain, with stronger front to back connections and is more optimised for motor skills. Whereas the female brain has stronger side to side connections and is optimised for intuitive thinking. It also houses more grey matter. Combined, these qualities could help build a healthy relationship.

Ultimately, we need to recognise the importance of both men and women, and the skills everyone brings to the table. As the saying goes, ‘we can’t live without each other’. But above all, we need to give each other a break! We have progressed so much and need to accept that nobody is perfect. Just different and that is definitely not a bad thing.