Between 7th to 10th March it was Women’s Week on campus. It was a great opportunity to celebrate women and to think about how far we have come in getting equal rights for women. It is also a good opportunity to think about what else needs to be achieved for women’s rights. So what is my perception on feminism? Like any person, I have my opinions about what I believe feminism is about and what it really means, as opposed to the more ‘taboo’ stereotype it can sometimes have.
We should celebrate how far we have come
First of all, I think that the feminist movement is great. We have come so far, from being given the right to vote, to equal pay acts and gaining more rights for working mothers. Today we have a female Prime Minster and whether she has is feminist or not, she is a great example to young girls that women can be in the top job of the country and there are no limits to what they can become. Years ago, it was expected that women should stay at home and be a housewife, but now more and more women go to work, have a career and be mothers too. More importantly, they have the choice to decide which they’d be happier doing. This is so important to me since I’m soon to enter the world of work, but one day want to be a working mum. This progression and opportunity for choice, that women once didn’t have, is absolutely worth celebrating.
No sex is superior; we should be equal
I believe that feminism should be about getting equal rights for women and men. In my A-levels I learnt there are some feminist movements that have some really extreme views and very negative opinions about men. I do not believe this type of feminism should be celebrated, because no one sex should be seen as superior. Feminism for me is all about fighting for equality and is just as much about things being equal for men too.
We need to stop gender stereotypes
It is hard not to gender stereotype, because we have all been raised to believe a male must be ‘masculine’ and a female must be ‘girly’. It all starts off when we are babies. Males are put in blue, given footballs and cars; while females are put in pink and given dolls and soft toys, so we can’t really blame ourselves for doing it. But so what if your son wants to wear a pink tutu? And your daughter wants to play football? We should let them express themselves however they want! Equally, there is no shame if a girl wants to play with dolls and a boy wants to play with toy cars, the point is, it should be a choice, not an expectation.
Gender stereotypes can also lead to issues in the workplace. A recent study has found that gender stereotypes in the workplace are still similar to 1980. If a woman wants to be a mechanic then why not shouldn’t she be? If a man wants to be a midwife, why can’t he be? Why are jobs labelled as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’? Because we are both consciously and subliminally taught to believe it should be like this. We’re all guilty of expecting certain things of men and certain things of women and to a point that’s perfectly fine, because as a general rule the two have their differences, but that shouldn’t mean that doors are closed to anyone in their career purely because of their gender.
Why it is so important to vote
There was once a time that women couldn’t vote. It’s hard to imagine that there was actually a time when women had to risk their lives just in protest to be allowed to vote. I think we can sometimes take this for granted. Whether you’re interested in politics or not, voting is so important. We didn’t always have this privilege. It shocks me that only 39% of females between 18-24 voted in the last general election. This is our future! We should be voting!
There are some great female icons
My favourite icon has to be Michelle Obama. During her 8 years as the first lady, she was in a very powerful position and she could choose what to do with it. One of the main things she chose was to speak up about women’s rights and the right for every girl to have an education!
Another great feminist icon for me is Malala Yousafzai. As a teenager, she was very outspoken about the rights for girls to be educated and nearly died because of her protests. She is the youngest winner of the nobel peace prize, and she deserves every bit of it!
Of course, there are many other perceptions of feminism and issues that are still very prominent in the world today. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about all the issues facing women in the world today but I know there are a lot more, especially for women in 3rd world countries. But I hope you enjoyed my perception of feminism!