Problem Management — examples

Sometimes goals appear to be fundamental issues, but often they are more symbolic than practical.

Consider the movement for equal rights and against sexual discrimination. One goal of some of the proponents of the movement is the elimination of sexist language. In particular, the existence of gendered pronouns such as she and her are regarded as quaint antiquities that should be eliminated from the English language, either by simply dropping them or by replacing them and words like he and him with new words that have no gender.

Whether achievable or not, this sounds like a reasonable goal.

A hundred years ago in China there was a similar women's movement to improve the language. But in this case it was the exact opposite, to create a new pronoun to apply to females since the language until that time had only a gender-neutral word.

This movement was so popular that a new word equivalent to the English she actually was created and is now a common part of modern Chinese.

These two movements for women's rights had exact opposite goals, yet each group felt it worth fighting for. In at least one case, the achievement of victory must have been far more important than the goal itself.