Yes, Let’s Travel Backwards… (we do not need to be anywhere)

When I was in Highschool I joined a co-ed volleyball team. And it was by far the most fun in sport I had. I loved playing volleyball in that group and always enjoyed the tournaments against other co-ed teams. My daughter’s school just yesterday had a similar tournament in which all 5th graders competed against each other. Nicely segregated between boys and girls in two separate buildings.

Regensburg is proposing “women zones” in buses. Nicely pink.

Public pools and saunas are also considering more gender separation to ensure the safety of women.

I am fearing my daughter will grow up in a world where men and women are no longer experiencing equal freedom and a co-ed environment.

Not all of this is in response to the cologne attacks on New Year’s Eve, but definitely more conversations are happening because of the sexual assaults on women that night. More and more articles portrait this and other similar events as a new sexual terrorism on women.

If segregation is the answer the war on women has succeeded. If segregation is the only way to keep women save, I am worried about the next generation of kids growing up to become members of a modern society. As a woman we need to fight for our freedom. We have come so far in equality, we cannot let ourselves be treated like we are a good that needs protection. Any solution cannot restrict the freedom, cannot drive compromises on only one part of the community, and must not assume one group is inferior to the other.

I am not sure if all of the direction is directly linked to the refugee crisis and migration of patriarchal oriented people into Europe. However, I would be stupid to deny that there is a correlation. Cultural differences and appreciation cannot be overcome by compromising on the wrong side of the spectrum. People of the LGTB community and women should not be asked to limit their freedom to accommodate a patriarchal way of thinking and living. Religion does not trump other’s freedom.

Having lived 12 years abroad coming back to Germany was a big culture shock. I used to grow up in an environment were the boys in my class were good friends. And I always felt welcome and integrated in mixed-gendered groups.

I do not see the same in how my daughter is experiencing her German school. The girls do not play with the boys. At a recent class event, I did not see the boys interact with the girls at all and vice versa. This might be an exception, but what if it is not?

Even in other areas I see a gender gap that I have not experienced before.

More than once a week I see a man yelling at a woman in the street in a disrespectful and nearly abusive manner. These are often very picture-book German couples in their 60s.

When I am in shops or interacting with men, I am often addressed like I have only half a brain. I need to point out every time that I have studied and am an engineer to gain some respect. And sometimes not even then. Men prefer to address things with other males.

I see women being escorted out by men fully dressed in tent like closing where only the eyes are visible; sometimes not even that. A normal view where I live. The amount of people living here with a migration background is high.

The concept of equality seems to stop where an interaction needs to occur. Where boys and girls need to find the role models that display not only co-existence, but interaction. How should a boy learn how to treat a girl? Where should the girls learn how to to interact with boys? It is not enough to give boys and girls equal access to education and professional choice. They need to learn how to interact and play as equals.

To me this interaction was natural — In school, in sport, in play time… boys were just part of the group. Our parents modeled interactions, sat together, celebrated together, and met at local village events and festivities. We were all one community. Regardless of whether we were female or male.

Since then we have also made progress in integrating LGTB more. And I just recently was happy looking at how natural my kids accepted classmates with two mothers or two fathers. And even transgendered people in my friend circle were accepted as the persons they are. We can all be the role models the kids need and bridge all diversity gaps that our parents did not know how to address.

If we cannot keep up with bridging this increasing gender gap, we will lose all progress that was made by our feminist predecessors. True equality can only happen when every gender can be in the same room without someone being disrespected, treated poorly, or discriminated against regardless of who we love or what gender we were born in.

The solution can never be segregation!


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