What does evolution say about gender equality?

Equality of the genders is a modern creation, unlike how evolution has deemed species to exist across time.

What does evolution say about gender equality?

At the root of every modern fetish liesequality.

All the Rights Movements hinge on the concept of equality. Equality is claimed as not just the greatest but the only defining virtue for any civilization. Inequality by extension becomes the ultimate evil. As judgment requires discrimination, and discrimination de-recognizes the concept of universal equality, ‘judgment’ or ‘discrimination’ is considered the ultimate evil too.

Thus women have to be equal to men. Nations can have no hierarchies. Classes have to be equal to each other. Castes should have no distinctions. Sexuality should not be a criterion for distinction. Age is no standard for judging anything. Even criminals are equal to civilians.

Woe betides the person who dares judge anyone or anything based on any criterion. He is no less than a fascist and if his ‘judging propensity’ is not checked soon, he will soon be committing mass murder! In this binary worldview with the non-judgmental WOKE generation on one hand and the Nazis on the other, most people find that they are not represented.

Things have come to such a pass that nothing can be said anymore about anyone without running the risk of ‘offending some interest group’ by ‘judging’ and ‘discriminating’ against them on some flimsy or non-existent criterion.

As a result, the vaguest, meaningless and most inane psycho-babble is the only language allowed in the public domain. Words, becoming terrified themselves, have abandoned all meaning. Afraid of the ire of the WOKE generation, they have taken refuge in the meaninglessness of uniform grey. It is another matter that the greatest judgment in modern life is against those who ‘judge’ and thus in many ways the ‘revolution of non-judgmentalism’ has come full circle. But that is a matter for another day.

It is this ‘crusade against inequality, discrimination and judging’ that these International Days incepted by the United Nations celebrate. International Women’s Day is no different.

But the worldview of a WOKE liberal has seldom had anything to do with reality. He has his belief system to get by. And this belief system is sheer simplicity, reducing the immense complexity of life into 15 to 20 slogans. At the root of this belief lies the assumption of the perfectibility of man; that the innate nature of man is good; that every kind of evil in human beings is society generated; and that violence, aggression and other injustices can be completely eliminated if only every kind of ‘discrimination’ and ‘judgment’ is eliminated.

Most of these ‘Days’ including Women’s Day are dedicated to rooting out some kind of ‘discrimination’ from society. If we talk about Women’s Day, in particular, it is based on the premise that both the genders are equal, and at the root of all injustice against women is the belief in the inequality of the two genders, resulting in ‘discrimination’, ‘violence’ and immense suffering on the part of women.

In this worldview, inequality is taken as sufficient proof of injustice. That equality can also lead to injustice or that justice can be dispensed in an unequal world is an idea that the liberal worldview is not willing to entertain.

Sexual dimorphism

What does Evolution say about gender equality? First, we should take a look at an interesting phenomenon. It is called sexual dimorphism. This phenomenon refers to the tendency among not just higher mammals, but also insects and plants for the sexes to diverge from each other physically.

Thus in Homo sapiens, men and women look very different from each other. This phenomenon can be seen in all the Great Apes and other higher mammals, particularly the predator or hunting type like the lions etc. This difference is not just physical. In fact, the physical representation of different body types between genders is a manifestation of different social roles assigned to different sexes.

All species displaying high sexual dimorphism, including man, have highly specialized and complex societies. Division of labour is practised and highly specialized roles are assigned to different groups and different genders. This is not a consequence of sexual dimorphism, but rather its cause. All the species of Great Apes including the Gorilla, the Chimpanzee, the Gibbon and the Orangutan are highly sexually dimorphic and also highly specialized in social roles.

(I should remark that sexual dimorphism has many causes, and the division of labour is just one of them. The most immediate and primary cause is the famed sexual selection.)

Coming back, gender inequality is thus an evolutionary factor. It was neither invented by man nor can it be eliminated by him.

Education of the young and gender inequality

Another factor contributing to inequality is the phenomenon of open instincts. In most insects, reptiles and lower mammals behaviour is primarily instinct-driven. It means that the individuals of these species are genetically programmed to behave in a certain way and they seldom deviate from these genetic instincts.

In higher mammals, the instincts are still the primary factor in deriving most of the behaviour but these instincts are of a different kind. For example, there is the language instinct. In every human individual, the tendency to speak a language is innate or hardwired into his genetic code. But what language he will speak is dependent on the culture and region he is born in.

Language is not only a human prerogative as many birds have extremely complex bird songs and other calls which are used for communicating. However, there is only one kind of bird song that the individual of a particular species can learn. For example, the common myna can never learn the song or calls of the red-whiskered bulbul. This type of instinct is called a ‘closed instinct’. It means that it cannot be tinkered with.

On the other hand, the language instinct in human beings is an ‘open instinct’ which means that the propensity to learn the language is there in every human individual, but he can learn any language in which he is born in.

The behaviour of the individuals with closed instincts is set and equal to most others of his kind. It is a society with a semblance of equality. The behaviour of an individual belonging to a species with open instincts is more diverse. And wherever there is diversity, there is inequality. Thus the higher the species is in the hierarchy and complexity of society, the more diverse and unequal it is.

The more complex a society is, the more it is based on open instincts. And open instincts is a behaviour that is learned. This learning takes place over the course of many months or years, depending upon the species. The individuals of these higher mammals of complex societies take longer to mature and thus have to be taken care of for a longer period of time, especially by their mothers.

In these highly complex societies, a lot of focus is on the learning or the ‘education’ of the young. A consequence of this education is that the young take a longer time to mature, and thus in all these higher species the young take many years to reach full maturity and to learn all the tricks of survival that are common in their species.

As a consequence, the mothers are bound to remain mainly in the care of the young for all their mature years. While the mothers are confined to what is called ‘homes’, the burden of gathering or hunting food falls primarily on men. This gives birth to a very unequal but highly complex and advanced society, better able to survive in the evolutionary struggle. Thus gender inequality is a function of a complex society and high civilization.

This division of labour is a major factor in the increasing complexity of any animal society, including human society. And such complexity is a necessary condition of a higher civilization. Thus, high civilization and culture is a result of the specialized roles and division of labour in sexually dimorphic societies. Without such evolutionary ‘inequality’, civilization would not have become possible.

An evolutionary fossil tells the story

Robert Ardrey, the great science journalist who demolished the romantic fallacy unleashed upon human society by Rousseau in the 1960s, says that we can see the consequences of ‘equality’ of genders and a society without gender distinction in a special basket case in Madagascar.

In Madagascar, we find around a hundred species of a strange mammal called lemur. He looks and acts somewhat like the monkey but far slower. It is called an evolutionary fossil. It inhabits a particular evolutionary niche. It would not have survived in modern times, had it not been stranded on the island of Madagascar where there were no large predators.

Interestingly, the lemur is not sexually dimorphic. And it has a society that is fairly equal as compared to the societies of the monkeys or the apes. The reason is that most of their instincts are closed and there is very little education that their young get from their mothers. As a result, mothers become free from weaning sooner than other mammals like monkeys.

But due to the same reason, they are less adept at surviving and competing against rival species like monkeys or apes. The fact that the lemurs or their ancestral species disappeared from all other continents and survived as evolutionary stragglers on Madagascar, testifies to this fact. They are less adept in the evolutionary struggle.

Inequality ≠ injustice

Thus, for good or for bad, a complex society with high civilization is a society that practices great inequality between its genders, between various groups and between individuals. Inequality is just a consequence of their evolutionary history. It is hardwired into their genetic code, also seen in sexual dimorphism. It was not invented by human society and is not a product of culture.

And thus it cannot be eliminated by political crusades.

This does not mean that human societies have not meted injustice to women. There have been grave injustice and unjustifiable misogyny against them. This also does not mean that women cannot be respected or there can be no justice for them. Of course, there can be fair justice and there should be respect for women. But justice does not lie in equality. In fact, equality will only exacerbate the injustice done against them.

It is high time we decouple inequality from injustice. Justice has to be served; justice has to be found, but not in equality. At least evolution denies that possibility.

About Author: Pankaj Saxena

"Pankaj Saxena is an author who writes on Hindu temples, Indian art, literature, history and culture. He is also deeply interested in cultural anthropology, evolutionary biology and ecology. He has visited more than 600 ancient Hindu temples on his temple trails. He writes for Indiafacts, Indic Today, Pragyata, Swarajya, Sirf News, Vijayvaani etc. He has authored three books so far. He currently works at Rashtram School of Public Leadership, Sonipat as an Associate Professor. He is the Director of Centre for Cultural Leadership."

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