Feminism/Equality – Liyora

Do you think the world is fair?  Do you think that in this school everyone is treated fairly?Sadly, society isn’t always fair.  Half of the world’s population is sometimes treated unfairly due to their gender. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive and are discouraged from working jobs that would put them in contact with men .Meanwhile on the other side of the globe in Australia, woman have to work an extra 66 days a year to earn the same pay as the average man.

I am reaching out to you because your help is needed to change this situation…it’s needed here… it’s needed now.  I chose this topic because like you, I am a young person and I want to be treated fairly, both now and in the future. Back when I was six years old I was interested in football, but there weren’t many opportunities outside of school to get proper training. Back then and even today, sports is widely regarded to be an area where boys succeed. Think of your top 3 role models in sports. Are any of them even women? But it is not only sports where genders are treated differently and unfairly. Feminism. A lot of people are sometimes put off by the very term.  It seems to imply that to improve the lot of women, we have to put down men.  To set the record straight, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes. It is not feminism when men have to be demeaned. Feminism is all about empowerment through equality. It is about understanding and respecting that women are just as capable of men in various facets of life. Emma Watson, the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, posed an important question “How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?”

Unfortunately around the world teenagers fight this battle whether it is something simple as the dress code or as significant as access to education and career opportunities solely because of their gender. In the United States of America, feminists are fighting against the school code conducting that girls may not wear sleeveless shirts! It is ridiculous that girls are prohibited to wear certain types of clothing whilst boys may wear whatever they want! One girl was asked to go back home and change for wearing a shirt that didn’t cover her shoulders. Is it a problem that women’s shoulders are being shown? Are shoulders an area of the body that should never be seen? Are what women wear a source of distraction for men? We want to correct the misconception surrounding feminism; this movement seems to uplift men as well as women.  We want to end gender inequality, and to do this, we need everyone involved. That means you, me and every student in this school. Despite our youth, we CAN do something about this.  In fact, we are the very people who SHOULD do something.  We need to do this now so that future generations will never consider treating sexes in different ways, the same way we now despise slavery and the abuse of children, which was widely accepted not so long ago.

After researching and learning this topic in the past, I have grown fond of thinking of ways to promote feminism, attempted to stop my friends and classmates from treating others differently because of gender and that we should stand up for what we believe in. I find this topic very serious and not fully understood by many kids and adults. It is important that we take a stand on things that will affect our future as we wouldn’t want to be living in a world where we aren’t being heard or treated correctly. We can start in our own community and in our everyday lives. So how can we do this?  As early as now, make an effort to treat girls and guys equally.  Sounds easy, but when we think about it, there are several inequalities which we seem to accept. For example, in sports, most would assume that boys are stronger than girls.  When a boy is weak in sports, he’d be told off with the phrase “you hit or run like a girl”.  Never say or accept this.  Don’t praise or insult someone based on their gender but base it on their achievements.  Also, don’t limit or label your way of conversing with your pals as “macho language” or “girly talk”.

Don’t limit your friendships to gender roles.  Why is it that when girls hug, it seems to be okay; but when boys touch hands they are accused of being gay?  Being gay used to mean being happy; sadly, it is now a put-down.  Don’t judge people’s gender based on their appearance, their hair length, their make up, their accessories or the way they dress. Choose your friends based on their kindness, not their gender.

Another important way to promote feminism is to begin thinking equally.  Insist that boys and girls be given the same opportunities.  When we grow older, we’ll be asked to think of what job we want.  Don’t limit your dreams.  It used to be that boys were encouraged to be engineers, lawyers or doctors, while girls were pushed into becoming secretaries, teachers or nurses.  But guess what?  Boys can be ballet dancers if they want to be!  Girls can be construction workers if that is what will make them happy!  In addition, never consider taking a job with unequal pay. I find this topic very serious and not fully understood by many kids and adults. It is important that we take a stand on things that will affect our future as we wouldn’t want to be living in a world where we aren’t being heard or treated correctly.

Bibliography: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/-negative-physiological-impacts-why-saudi-women-arent-allowed-to-drive/280343/ http://www.heforshe.org/en http://www.makers.com/blog/21-facts-you-never-knew-about-international-gender-inequality


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