When equality requires all parties to be active in the conversation, this is not an empowering statistic.
As a woman who identifies with the title of 'feminist', I have seen plenty of resistance from men online and in my life in identifying with the title themselves.
Feminism, by definition from the Oxford Dictionary, is:
the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.
In societies where inequality of the genders is still very alive and well, this is an alarming statistic to consider.
Feminism is relevant to all genders, not just female.
At its essence, feminism is about equality. Equality isn’t something that’s only just become trendy. It’s a fight that many, not only women, have been advocating for and taking steps towards for centuries upon centuries.
The current societal landscape for women remains bleak. From issues of sexism in the workplace, (42% of US women have stated being discriminated against at work), to alarming rates of sexual assault (an American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds), to the ever-existing wage-gap and more— women remain in tumultuous waters when it comes to obtaining the rights we deserve.
Society is not kind to women, and for those us who also experience suppression or discrimination due to their sexual orientation or their race, the state of affairs for them remains even more unjust.
Women are experiencing notable challenges and struggles every single day. And more often than not, they’re told that they need to sit down, shut up, and keep their feelings, no matter how valid, to themselves.
I know I’ve heard this a million times before, every time I’ve shared about my sexual assault or struggles related to existing in the sexist culture that is my reality.
As women, our stories matter. Our struggles are valid, and we’re not going to stay silent anymore.
Gender equality is not just women’s responsibility to fight.
Everyone wins when we achieve greater equality. Statistics have already shown that when there is greater gender equality, and women are uplifted into more positions of leadership, economies grow and thrive more. That's something everyone can benefit from.
The fight for feminism and equality is not just a woman’s fight. It’s everyone’s fight. It’s everyone’s responsibility.
Every story related to oppression or discrimination opens the opportunity for quality dialogue and learning to take place.
When one is in a privileged position, it can very well be difficult at times to recognize the extent of that privilege, and recognize how some behaviours that they consider normal are actually very harmful.
In a safe space where people are regularly discriminated against are able to share their stories and struggles, that was in a place of privilege who don’t recognize problematic behavior have an opportunity to learn something really important.
I myself, as a first-world white woman, also exist in a privileged position compared to many other women in the world.
I continue to happily learn and reevaluate my views as I read stories from other women and men who come from a place where they can challenge my problematic behaviours and help me get to a place of better understanding and support for that which is more equal.
In the fight for equality, everyone wins when we are more equal.
The world becomes a better place when all parties in our community are represented, and no one is systematically oppressed.
So keep those conversations going.
Keep opening dialogue.
Be open to being challenged.
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