A Shift In Conversation

By Shana McLaughlin

If I learned one thing form the Pope’s visit to the United States it is that people need to come together, unite in their differences and simulates to progress, if not solve, the problems that face our society together. He stressed harmony, and concord among us. Nothing, however, is harder in a generation where I feel like differences are stressed both positively and harmfully. Look at the Hilltop as an example, each day I am continuously amazed by the diverse group of people who surround me in the classroom. This campus acts merely as a microcosm for the rest of society engulfed in differences: good and bad.

 “Everyone is special.” We heard it over and over again in elementary school, and its evolved throughout the years. There are so many aspects of our identities that separate us from one another: our race, our history, our status, and so on. One of the most obvious is gender. Again, it was something we could recognize in elementary school; the girls sat with the girls, the boys with the boys. It’s an innate difference, but one that causes a magnitude of problems in our social endeavors.

It’s easy to claim women’s rights, especially as a woman; it is tempting to scream for equality, to preach for impartiality in the workplace, and promote our own choices and beliefs; these are all things we know to be fundamental, but also know to be lacking. Yet, I keep questioning, where is all this talk getting us? Sure, there has been some improvement in the treatment of women in the business place, and there has been more awareness of women’s rights in society, but beyond that are we getting any further?

 Here, is where there needs to be a shift in the conversation. Like Pope Francis preached, we need to start proposing real solutions, and working together to create change. This means focusing on the opportunities women do have which can lead to accomplishing all the talk. For example, shifting from what is wrong in a company where women aren’t yet at the top, and changing our attention and exploration into those that have established and integrated women into their teams and into their success. Or, instead of merely criticizing an all male board, focusing on the powerful women working their way there.

I think often, focusing on what has been accomplished instead of blinding ourselves only to what we have yet to do, is overwhelming and crushes the possibility of the successful conversation and action that the Pope spoke of last week. Our society is evolving; there is no doubt that women have made great strides in the past decades, or even years. Bringing these to our attention in our every day movement toward bigger and better things only will benefit us.