By: Mariam Yagou Joof Jarboh
School: Whitehorse Middle School
Tell me, how is it that a woman makes $0.75 for every dollar that a man makes? How is that fair? How is it that a woman could do the same exact job as a man, but she is paid less? Now how does that make sense?
Unequal pay is just one piece of the systematic inequalities women face daily. According to do.something.org and contrary to popular belief, feminism has nothing to do with belittling men. In fact, feminism works towards equality, NOT female superiority.
Women need greater access to education, equitable pay, and the right to make decisions when it comes to pregnancy (e.g. access to contraceptives and abortion). We should all work to resolve these issues, including men – by making use of print and electronic media, supporting non-profit organizations working for women, rallying political support, and mentoring young girls and raising their aspirations. We should lay the ground for a future generation of young girls who will not have to worry about today’s gender related challenges when they lead businesses, communities, and even their countries one day.
In an article by Hira Ali from Ellavate network, Samantha Reenie suggests, “Call out inequality – people must be held accountable for their actions, so when you see acts of sexism, racism, and islamophobia or anything else, call it out!” Sometimes people do not realize something is wrong until someone points it out, so don’t hesitate to point out and raise awareness in suitable ways. Highlight the issue at hand and help people understand it better by writing blogs, sharing articles, or perhaps doing live videos with meaningful messages. Tweeting and using hashtags of popular movements that support the theme is also a perfectly acceptable way of showing your support. Ali reminds us, “Social media is a very important tool with an impact far more outreaching than we can ever imagine. What’s better is that it’s free!” Challenge and counteract media that intentionally or unintentionally undermines women’s rights. Make sure your voice is being heard by raising concerns and registering complaints where appropriate.
To conclude, gender-equitable societies are healthier for everyone. Feminism challenges restrictive gender norms and advocates for improvements in women’s access to healthcare, reproductive rights, and protection from violence. All of this has positive effects on everyone’s life expectancy and well being, especially children.
I need feminism because my culture doesn’t value outspoken, strong women and I won’t be silenced. Like Madonna, I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a beast, then that’s okay. When I have a daughter, I don’t want her to think her only option is to rely on a man. Billie said, if you’re a girl with an opinion, people just hate you. There are still people who are afraid of successful woman, and that’s so lame. Take action against the systematic inequalities women have been facing for generations.