For a long time, the United States Congress was the hub of many of our country's most powerful straight, white males. The current 114th Congress has been hailed as the most diverse in the country's history, comprising of more women and minorities than ever before. But "most diverse" is relative; white men make up a stunning 80 percent of Congress today.
The unbalanced gender ratio means that a majority of aging, straight white dudes are more likely to prioritize policies most valuable to them and their demographic. Pieces of legislation that benefit women like equal pay and paid parental leave are often voted against as bills like the 20-week abortion ban are making their way through Congress.
While it can be difficult to visualize just how frustrating it must be as a female lawmaker hustling through the corridors of power on Capitol Hill, one high school teacher managed to do that.
Nick Ferroni, a teacher at Union High School in New Jersey, decided that he would put his male students in the shoes of women in Congress with a creative social experiment that was filmed in collaboration with SoulPancake. After adjusting the gender ratio in his classroom to 20 percent boys and 80 percent girls, Ferroni made them vote on policies like discounted school-related items for girls and boys using lockers on different floors.
As someone who's always found that experience makes for the "most effective and powerful way" to learn, Ferroni told A Plus that he teaches his students about history and current events "by putting them in similar situations."
Naturally, none of the boys were thrilled about the outcome of a voting process that blatantly disfavored them.
Ferroni said that he hoped to give his students and viewers a taste of how unfair it is that a male-majority Congress gets to decide on issues regarding women's rights to their bodies. "I hope this will encourage people to elect a more diverse political body," he added. "This year 469 out of 535 congressional seats are up for election and we can make a big difference, but this applies to all countries."
He continued, touching on the criticism that men only care about gender equality when it concerns the women in their lives:
The only people who should learn more about Women's History more than women are men, and all men must be as concerned about women's rights as they are about their own rights. It's funny how many men become feminists the minute they have a daughter, but by then it is too late.