Why I Am A Feminist

Image: Reuters

Image: Reuters

The past few months I’ve been questioning whether or not I am a feminist, whether other people should be a feminist, whether feminism is even necessary anymore. Some conservative friends would tell me “women already have the same rights as men so feminism isn’t necessary anymore, it’s just man-hating,” and some liberal friends would tell me “of course everybody should be a feminist, women are still fighting for equal rights and treatment”. It was a constant battle for me being tugged one way and then another. But, stepping away from what both sides said to me, I observed the world around me and saw that feminism is still necessary. Thus, I am a feminist.

Feminism: The advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. Although feminism has a dictionary definition, the personal definition of feminism is different for everyone. For me, feminism is the advocacy for equal rights and treatment for men and women and anyone in between. I am a feminist because I recognize the unequal treatment towards women. I see it in school. I see girls ideas for class projects not being taken as seriously as boys ideas are. Adults I know have seen it in their workplace. Unequal pay may be illegal but it is still happening to women every day all over the country. Most recently I see women's rights to their own bodies being ripped away in states like Alabama and Georgia. These inequalities are not just affecting me at this moment, they are affecting my friends, sisters, mother, every woman, and women of the future.

Susan B Anthony said, “no state has a right to make any new law or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities.” Gloria Steinem said “Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.” These words from icons of earlier feminist movements are still relevant to the actions we take as feminists today.

Feminism is crucial today because according to a study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over 25 percent of women face sexual harassment in the workplace. Women make up almost half of the United States workforce yet less than 5 percent of CEOs at S&P 500 Companies are women. There are many other statistics that show that women are not being treated equally to men or being given the same opportunities, and none of this is going to change if we don’t stand up and use our voices as feminists.

Feminism isn’t dead and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. We still have a lot of work to do. From giving all genders equal rights, treatment, and opportunities, to making sure feminism is intersectional so every woman is included. I encourage you all to open your eyes, look around at the inequalities you see every day and call them out.