You may well have seen this article and laughed with incredulity at the irony.
It says in the article: A tweet celebrating the awards was met with mockery, with comments such as: “Wow really nailed the diversity there. One of those dudes was wearing gray.”
But I wonder…
I have been reflecting a lot on this story and I’ve been wondering if there isn’t a flip side to be considered.
As Robin DiAngelo notes in her book “White Fragility“: If being a woman denies you the right to vote, you ipso facto, cannot grant it to yourself. And you certainly cannot vote for your right to vote. If men control all the mechanisms that exclude women from voting as well as the mechanisms that can reverse that exclusion, women must call on men for justice.
The UAE is culturally a hugely different culture to one we might recognise easily in the “West”, and there are many areas we struggle with when values seem so diametrically opposed to our own, so we cannot expect the movement towards gender equality there to be the same as here or even one we could compute, unless we’ve taken the time to know and understand that culture.
We can be pointed in our reporting of the irony and call it out for being tokenistic nonsense, or we can choose to see these men as allies in the campaign for gender equality in the UAE and hope that is indeed what they are. These may be the men that women in UAE are calling on for justice, and they may, actually, be trying to deliver.
It’s easy to judge. It’s harder to try to understand.