I would like to start off by saying I am a proud feminist. As its gender equality week in UCC I decided to give my reasons on why we need feminism. Feminism isn’t a dirty word as many people think. It doesn’t mean man hating. What feminism means is equality between the sexes. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on feminism in 21st century Ireland.
Woman still don’t have full control of their bodies which are being sexualized at every turn. Little girls are still discouraged from joining fields such as science and engineering. More horrifying is the fact that rape victim’s are still being blamed due to their clothing choices. It’s (unfortunately) a mans world and feminism can help. There are some of the reasons why we need feminist.
As a society that is described as liberal and progressive the truth is far from it. Women face cat calls on an almost daily basis. On night out women are always checking their drink as they face threat of assault or worse. Women are always protecting themselves from the unseen dangers. Women are always protecting themselves against men.
On a more national level only 16% of Irish politicians sitting in the Dáil are female. In terms of education only 15% of engineering and manufacturing students are female. Now this is primarily due to unsafe and unfair gender expectations. ‘Typically’ females are expected to aim for places in education/arts courses (3/4’s). As mentioned above girls are told that the science and engineering sectors are for boys.
These gender roles that are embedded into our mind set’s tell us that:
- Pink is a girls colour and blue is a boys colour.
- Men are supposed to provide while Women are forced to stay at home.
- Women are emotional and Men are strong.
- Men are perfect and Women always have to improve themselves.
There are flaws in this mindset though. Take for example the stereotype that women should stay in the kitchen and cook. Now put this against the job of a professional chef. For a hobby that is seen as feminine the majority of those who work in that area are men.
The wage gap is another reason that explicitly shows that feminism is needed. Women in Ireland in 2011 only made 94% of the wage men made. During the recession there was an estimate 12% drop in a couples wages. The woman’s wage drop was 14%.
Finally we need feminism because feminism isn’t for white, attractive, wealthy women. Feminism is for all women. If your feminism doesn’t include women of colour, trans women, curvey women, poor women, et then it isn’t feminism. Feminism is for all, not just the media’s poster girl.