1. Because you believe in gender equality
If you believe in gender equality, you’re a feminist.
Why not call it equalism, then? Easy: because female is the gender that’s been and still is systematically oppressed.
Sure, women can already vote in most countries, but this is a very recent accomplishment and a legal change is not a change in society or culture.
Think about it –can a society that until recently didn’t allow women to vote or open a bank account without a man’s permission be truly free of sexism with just a change in legislation?
2. Because there’s still a gender pay gap
In the US, on average, women make 79 cents for every dollar a man earns in the US. And it’s not a matter of career choice. The pay gap only grows with age and is even worse for mothers and women of color. This also happens to women with higher levels of education.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Current Population Survey
Women have to face the glass ceiling and the sticky floor, a phenomenon that keeps us off the highest management positions and overrepresented in less valued jobs.
I mean, come on, there are more CEOs named John or David than women!
via New York Times
3. Because women do a lot of unpaid care work
If women got paid for the unpaid care work that we do, no country would be able to afford it. From housework to remembering everyone’s birthday, making plans for our friends and family or caring for the ill and the elderly.
Women spend a daily average of almost 4 hours on housework and caring for children while men only spend a little over 2 hours on the same chores. This gives men almost 2 extra hours per day to relax, enjoy their hobbies, network or advance their education.
4. Because poverty has a woman’s face
70% of people living under the threshold of poverty are women, a phenomenon known as “feminization of poverty”.
5. Because women are harassed just by walking on the street
This is something that happens all around the year, all over the planet. It doesn’t matter what we’re wearing or doing, street harassment and catcalling are a part of every woman’s day.
Obscene shouts from a car driving by, whistling, barking, honking,.. almost every woman has been sexually harassed on the street.
6. Because some schools still have sexist dress codes
Dress codes are not the problem. Dress codes that address mostly girl’s clothing are. Sexualizing young girls and blaming them for “distracting” boys with their clothing is the problem. And this has several consequences.
Let’s start by saying that the female students being sexualized are minors. And they’re not only being sexualized by their classmates, they’re being sexualized by their teachers and the school staff as well. And that’s creepy and predatory as fuck.
Now let’s take a look at the message we’re sending to this girls. We’re telling them their bodies are inherently sexy in any context. We’re telling them their clothing defines the amount of respect they’ll receive. We’re telling them boys are unable to hold their urges around a woman dressed in revealing clothes. That’s rape culture right there.
7. Because women’s right to a free and safe abortion is still being questioned
Women’s right to have an abortion is still not recognized in many countries around the world.
While most countries allow an abortion when there’s a risk to the mother’s life, few will allow it for social and economic reasons or when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s mental health and well-being. And even fewer countries allow women to have an abortion no questions asked.
If women aren’t granted a free and safe abortion, they’ll risk their freedom and their lives by having a secret abortion in dangerous and unhealthy places, without the help of trained professionals.
Rich women can take a short vacation to a country where abortion is legal instead.
8. Because women are pressured to fit unrealistic beauty standards
We must shave, put makeup on, be thin, and fit into society’s stereotype of beauty.
Extremely photoshopped models and constant messages in the media telling us to be thinner, to stay young. Ads saying that we can’t go to the beach if we haven’t shaved. Headlines reminding us that women are just there for decoration, even if they’re elite athletes competing in the Olympic games.
9. Because 1 in 3 women have been abused by their partners or sexually assaulted
The WHO is calling violence against women a “global health problem of epidemic proportions” and offers a scary fact: 1 in 3 women over 15 have been abused by their partner os sexually assaulted.
It’s not just a matter of legislation, we need to change a culture that thinks abuse is romantic. We need to create a sexual culture of affirmative consent. We need to stop romanticising rape in ads and movies.
In order to change this culture of inequality, we need to involve everyone. We need to work side by side and build a culture in which we get equal pay for equal work. A culture that allows us to love our bodies, a culture where care work is shared equally.
We need to work together to be free of sexism, we need to be united against it. We need feminism.