Strength in Unity
If feminism ever seems too complicated, just focus on these three goals.
By Shannon Mondesir, Brooklyn College
The women’s rights movement has had ongoing battles for decades, starting even before the twentieth century.
Though it is sad that equality for women is still a problem, many obstacles have been overcome due to persistence and the strength of feminism. Having the right attitude is definitely important when embarking on this battle, so keep in mind these three tips when faced with inequality.
1. Ignore Social Stigmas
“Women are weak.” “Women are so sensitive.” “There’s no woman smarter than a man.”
Women this, women that. Sheesh! You’d think that women were the worst creatures on Earth considering how badly they are spoken about. This is very important to remember, and the worst thing you could possibly do is adhere to this verbal abuse.
Women have done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment; these stereotypes are based on unfair gender biases that have nothing to do with the overall person.
Have you ever watched movies or television shows from the fifties or sixties? If you have, you know how deplorable women’s rights were back then. The woman was to stay at home and cater to the needs of her family.
Now, of course, if this is what some women want to do even today, that’s fine. After all, the point of the women’s rights movement is to allow women the ability to do whatever they want. However, this old fashioned ideal is still stuck in today’s society, despite the progress that has been made in that women can have jobs and can choose not to have children if they want to.
Sadly, women need to work hard to beat these stereotypes and prove to all that they are capable of many things, not just cooking or cleaning for a man. Social stigmas exist to keep women down; resist them all.
If you are a woman, be proud of it. Don’t let society deem you worthless, because that couldn’t be farther than the truth. Know your worth, have that confidence—it’ll make the fight for equality much easier.
2. Be Assertive
This is easier said than done, but having an assertive attitude can get you anywhere. Think about it—women are typically characterized as submissive when compared to a man, so it is up to women to prove this stereotype wrong. There’s no law that says that you have to take anything from anyone, and simply raising your voice at things you deem unfair can change a situation for you.
Take the gender wage gap for example. It is a fact that women earn less than men, even if the man and woman have been working the same amount of time in the same position. Knowing this, why not discuss this with your employer up front? Firing you because you want to discuss this problematic factor would be a ridiculous, discriminatory act, and definitely something to follow up with legal action, so there is no reason to avoid the conversation.
Instead of complaining about the unfairness of it, go a step further and plead your case: “Why does Fred make X amount more than I do when I’ve worked here longer?”
3. Fight For Each Other
One very problematic factor within the women’s rights movement is the exclusion of rights for minority women. Many issues that are consistently brought to the public’s attention are problems that only a specific group of women face.
Hispanic women face discrimination due to their language barrier, black women are consistently seen as sexual objects and Muslim women are discriminated against because of their religion and traditional clothing.
Sometimes, it is as if middle-aged, middle-to-upper-middle class white women are the only ones who have their problems heard, and of course, problems differ for all women. There needs to be an inclusion of problems from all women, even if other problems do not necessarily affect you personally.
As a woman fighting for her rights with other women, it would be selfish to fight for yourself when other women are suffering. To fight for the rights of others means that you are aware of the problems other people have, and you are in the fight for equality together.
These are just a few ways you can fight against inequality as a woman. Surely, there are more ways, but by knowing your worth, being assertive of your rights and helping each other in the fight, you’ve already started the battle for equality for all women.