As I discussed in my earlier post, gender discrimination is a pretty prevalent phenomenon. However, besides discriminating by not supplying everyone with facilities they feel comfortable using, I’ve noticed gender discrimination in other areas too.
While filling out Brandeis’ Justice Brandeis Semester Evaluation form I noticed that in the information section, the drop-down bar for Gender only has 2 options- guess what they are.
A bit hesitantly, I e-mailed the JBS Program Manager, telling her that I did not feel that these options accommodated all students. She e-mailed me back right away saying that she felt the same way, and that she and her colleagues would work on this issue in the future. I thank her for her responsiveness and willingness to embrace this change.
Although I do not think that JBS was intentionally discriminating against certain students, the effects were the same as if they had been- people feeling excluded.
The same lack of sensitivity is true of Facebook.
I recently received an e-mail from All Out (see earlier post about another of their campaigns) informing me that Google+ offers three options under Gender- Male, Female and Other, whereas Facebook only has 2 options. All Out is encouraging people to leave Facebook if its owners do not incorporate a third option into their design.
Here too, the question of intention arises: why would Facebook NOT increase its customerbase, by appealing to as many people as possible, by allowing as many options as users want? Is it just a matter of ignorance? However, for whatever reasons, Facebook has not changed the ways it lets users identify, despite over 10,000 people signing AllOut’s petition.
Something as simple as including an “Other” option on a list of genders can make a difference to someone who is routinely excluded, perhaps intentionally and perhaps not, from everyday situations. While there is a lot of discrimination in the world, gender discrimination and separation may be the most widely-accepted and prevalent in our society.
Ways you can affect a change: Sign All Out’s petition, and try to gauge to what extent you support and enforce the gender binary in your personal life.