Being A Feminist in the 21st Century

I was going to start this post wishing everyone happy international Women’s day, but it really isn’t a happy affair. Even though we have had strong movements in Hollywood with Times Up, and company’s in England have announced the gender pay gaps within many companies, the reality is, we are still no where near to achieving equality.

There are still girls in other countries that aren’t allowed to study because they are being married off at 16 or earlier to a man almost twice their age.

There are still women who are told that they there place is at home, in the kitchen and looking after the children. 

There are still women who have time off on maternity and come back to a lower paid role or with little room for progress.

I am a feminist. And until everyone, including men, can own up to that role, we will never achieve equality. When I say feminist I don’t relate to the feminist of before who burnt bras and were anti-men. Today’s feminist simply want the same treatment, fairness and to be viewed for their skills instead of their sex. I do not take offence to a man who holds the door open for me either.

But in our everyday lives, how can we make a change, an impact?

I wrote some thoughts down of things I want to start doing more or less off.

Stop apologising and using “just”. It is something so many of us are guilty of, saying sorry when you made a little mistake or you are bothering someone’s time. I told myself to stop apologising unless I am actually in the wrong and really f*cked up. I had also previously read about the adverb “just” and how it used, especially in email, to be more polite. Example ” I was just emailing to talk about……”. I have stopped using the word (I still sub-consciously do it and then realise and hit the backspace button) and gotten straight to the point. “I am emailing you today to chase up on the below” demands more attention.

Make the opportunity, don’t wait for it. If you have stepped up and work hard, talk about a pay rise, write your goals down and aim for it. No one is going to hand it to you on a platter. I always hated having the awkward conversations of pay rises or promotions, but I have just sucked it up and spoke about it, because trust me if you don’t it will never happen. Go out and seek the doors that might be slightly ajar and open them, with confidence, because you can!!

Speak up and be heard. I joined toastmaster’s which is a public speaking club and every week we meet to present speeches, or evaluate them in a friendly environment. Now the next step is that I will be more vocal in larger audiences, if I have a question for the speaker I will ask it in front of everyone instead of speaking to them separately after the talk * my usual move. No one is going to notice you unless you make yourself noticed.

One thing to remember is that achieving equality isn’t about standing up for yourself. It is about to standing up for everyone, by remaining silent or in the background, you become no better than the perpetrator.

As I take these steps, I encourage every one of you reading this, male or female, to think about what it means for you to be a feminist and what steps you want to incorporate in your everyday life to help us get closer to all being equal.

 

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