News Category: Current Events
- by Varsha Vaidyanath
Feminism, defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality”, is the simple act of sharing a common goal to achieve equal rights––rights that we take for granted today such as a woman’s right to vote. Imagine a time when about half the citizens in our country were not allowed to vote or share their voice. While we have come a long way, a long road awaits us to achieve the equitable goals we intend to seek in our society today.
San Francisco Bay Area, looked upon as the cradle of digital revolution, is just waking up to take its first steps, that which is already recognized by many developed countries. San Francisco passed the Paid Parental Leave for Bonding with New Child Ordinance. It requires that all offices and businesses give women paid maternal leave. This is definitely a step forward in the right direction for women and men alike.
The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…,” and it’s true––all men are created and considered equal as human beings. But what about their female counterparts? Are the women and men of today considered to be equal? In a fictitious world, possibly, but in current times, definitely not. Women continue to undergo bias and discrimination simply because of their gender. They still receive the ruthless looks and comments that they did hundreds of years ago for going to work and being leaders instead of taking on the stereotypical female job of taking care of kids and the household. Women also get the respect and credit that they rightfully deserve much less frequently than they should, including payment. According to the Department of Labor, women in 2014 earned about 78.6% of what men earned, and the UN states that about 62 million girls around the world are prohibited from having an education.
How do people make a difference in the way women are perceived and treated? There are some women who, utilizing their powerful positions in society, continue to make changes and improvements in the gender equality movement. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, uses her book, organization, and public campaigns to spread public awareness of feminist issues. Malala Yousafzai wrote a book, created an organization, and blogged about her experiences with the Taliban to spread awareness of the abuse and mistreatment of women in the Middle East. Emma Watson, actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, established the HeForShe campaign to emphasize men’s roles in helping women reach gender equality.
One might think that being in a position of power like these women is key to making a significant change in society. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that planting the seed does not grow a tree of change overnight. It takes a lot of effort and meticulous thinking and planning to nurture the sapling and establish a strong-rooted tree of change. In this sense, it is possible for ‘normal people’ to take small steps and make amends as well.
Anyone can establish a “Lean In Circle” with Sheryl Sandberg by registering online and forming a group. The members of this group can encourage each other in making decisions to break the gender conformities of society. Social media can help as well––a simple post on sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr can affect the minds of hundreds, if not thousands of people. Ask your friends and family to donate to Catapult and help female business women in developing countries. You can even choose to join The Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment and once again help women around the world gain economic equality to men.
The power and possibility to make a major change in society lies in the hands of everyone. With a little creativity and belief, anybody can contribute towards the gender equality movement, whether the person is a celebrity, businessperson, or just an average human being.
Photo from: https://ynaija.com/tag/gender-equality/
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