Why respect is all we really want in life regardless of gender or culture

Forget a flashy car or a big house – all we really want in life is to be respected, according to researchers. After examining 70 years’ worth of studies, they concluded that we crave being valued by others regardless of our gender or culture, even if we might not be aware of it.

The team at the University of California, Berkeley, said having a high social standing makes us healthier in the long-term, claiming the strongest test for their hypothesis was whether low status makes us ill.

Researchers showed those with low status in communities, peer groups or workplaces suffer more from depression and chronic anxiety and cardiovascular disease. In journal Psychological Bulletin, Professor Cameron Anderson said: ‘Whenever you don’t feel valued by others it hurts.’

He and his authors defined status to distinguish it from power and wealth as respect or admiration, voluntary deference by others and social value or prestige. They decided that status was fundamental because it contributed to long-term health, drives our behaviour in achieving goals, is wanted ‘for its own sake’ and it holds true for different cultures and genders.

Anderson, a professor of management at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, said: ‘Not everyone may care about having an impressive job title or a big, fancy house but all human beings desire a high level of social status.

‘I usually study the sexy angle of power and confidence but with this one, it’s about everyone. Everyone cares about status whether they’re aware of it or not. ‘Establishing that desire for status is a fundamental human motive that matters because status differences can be demoralising.

The study found the strongest test of their hypothesis was whether the possession of low status negatively impacts health. Individuals who fall lower on the status hierarchy, or what the authors call the ‘community ladder,’ feel less respected and valued and more ignored by others.

Prof Anderson added: ‘The desire for status can drive all kinds of actions, ranging from aggression and violence, to altruism and generosity, to conservation behaviour that benefits the environment. ‘The more we understand this basic driver, the more we can harness it to guide people’s decisions and actions to more productive paths.’

India elects first transgender mayor

A low-caste transgender in central India has become the country’s first to win civic polls and be declared mayor.Madhu Bai Kinnar won the municipal election in Raigarh in the central state of Chhattisgarh Sunday, beating her rival from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by more than 4,500 votes, according to the state election commission.

Video footage showed the 35-year-old Kinnar draped in a saree, folding her hands and greeting supporters who placed marigold garlands around her neck amid a blaze of camera flashes.

Kinnar, a member of the Dalit caste previously known as “untouchables”, had been earning a living by singing and dancing on trains, the Press Trust of India reported, but she stopped when asked to represent her community.

“People have shown faith in me. I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I’ll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams,” Kinnar told reporters after winning the election.

Kinnar’s win comes nine months after India’s top court ruled that transgenders be legally recognised as gender-neutral.

Japanese man sues Women’s University over rejection of application

A young Japanese man who was rejected by an all-women university where he wanted to study nutrition is suing the college over gender discrimination, reports said on Wednesday.

In what is believed to be the first case in Japan challenging the constitutionality of a publicly-run women’s university, the man is seeking a ruling that would allow him to take an entrance exam at Fukuoka Women’s University, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

“Not allowing men to take the exam violates Article 14 of the constitution which proclaims equality before the law,” said the man, who was not identified in the report.

Popular actress Emma Watson gives epic speech to men

Emma delivered a moving speech at “HeForShe” campaign, launch which will fight for gender equality around the world. Read speech here:

“I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating,” Watson said. “If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is: ‘The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.'”

But on top of changing the perception of feminism, Watson told men why they need to care about gender equality too. “I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less ‘macho,” she pointed out.

“I want men to take up this mantle,” she continued, “so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice, but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too — reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”