Thursday, June 20, 2013

All I Want is Equality

Yes, that is what feminism is all about. Equality for women. No, we feminists are not asking for better treatment under the law for women. Anyone who does is not truly a feminist. The word feminism may come from the root word female, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a movement to raise women’s status above men’s. It means that it’s a movement dedicated to raising women to men’s political, economic, and social level.

Because let’s face it: women have a long way to go to reach that level of equality. In the US, a rape culture prevails, and women are blamed for their own sexual assaults. In the Congo, a violent civil war is fought on women’s bodies, with the threat of rape constantly looming over every woman in the country. The Middle East is rife with honor killings of women who have done some perceived wrong to “dishonor” their families. In Asia, female fetuses are aborted and infants are murdered simply because they have two X chromosomes.

It’s an undeniable fact: all over the world, women are subjected to horrendous injustice, whether physical gender-based violence or cultural inequality or both. Anyone who claims that feminism is dead, and that fighting for women’s equality is outdated and irrelevant, could not be more wrong. Women still need that boost. Women are still second class citizens, whether by actual legal standards or by cultural and societal norms.

And that is why we need feminism. We need to elevate women from their unfairly low status to fully-functioning members of society. If we do not, if we stand idly by as women are exploited and subjected to gross injustice, then we are wasting half of the world’s resources. All we feminists want is to be able to harness those talents of half the population in this world, and ensure that every human being can reach his or her full potential, regardless of gender or sex.

All I want is equality. And one day, I am confident that feminists and their allies will attain that goal, and the world will be a fairer place. I don’t know if I’ll be alive to see it, or even if my daughters or granddaughters will be. But I believe that if we sow the seeds of feminism now, if we imbue the right values into the next generations, the world will be a more equitable place one day.

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