There are so many reasons we still need feminism. A century after the suffragettes fought for the right to vote, women are still behind men in so many ways. There are too many examples of the ways in which women are treated as objects and less deserving than men. Here are some of the reasons we still need feminism in the 21st century …
One of the major reasons we still need feminism is the status of women. In many countries women still don't have equal status to men, either legally or socially. There is no justification for this, but it happens. Women have to fight for their rights, until they are officially equal to men in every way.
Yes, it still happens that women are paid less than men for doing the same job, as if we deserve less for our time and effort. And Governor Rick Perry described Wendy Davis' focus on equal-pay legislation as 'nonsense' (trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com). If it can still happen in spite of current legislation, then we need more focus, not less.
Women are treated as objects in the media. And women and girls are still blamed for 'leading men on' or 'asking for it.' Remember the appalling Steubenville case? As if the abuse the unconscious victim suffered wasn't bad enough, photographs and videos were circulated. Some members of the community and users of social media even blamed the girl. That is WRONG.
There is a lot of legislation that denies women their rights. From the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia to new legislation limiting abortion in Spain, women are discriminated against in various ways around the world. While such legislation exists, and in the absence of equal rights legislation, the need for feminism is clear.
Let's look at some figures. In the US, 20% of senators are women. In the House of Representatives, it's 18%. The UK has 22% female MPs, Canada and Australia have 24%. Even Iraq has more than the US, at 25%. Which country has the highest? Rwanda at 56%. The lowest? Think of how many have little or no representation by women. I'm not in favor of appointing or electing women simply for their gender, but the numbers are clearly off in many countries. And how many have never had a woman leader?
Have you been told that you should study more 'feminine' subjects, or that maths or physics aren't right for you? Yes, it does still happen in the 21st century, so we need to challenge outdated stereotypes . But feminism isn't just about demanding equal rights for women, it should also include equal rights for men. Let's not forget that men can also face obstacles if they want to pursue careers seen as 'female.'
Girls are worrying about their bodies at very early ages. They need to learn as early as possible that looks are not the most important attribute, that they don't need to be slim and beautiful, or try to please men. When girls are growing up thinking that cosmetic surgery and having the perfect figure are desirable, then yes, we do need feminism.
Women have achieved a lot and fought hard for equality, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Attitudes need to be changed in many areas. What do you think are the reasons we still need feminism?
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