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The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration women across all seven continents of the globe decided to take a stand. ‘The Women’s March’, which started off as a small Washington D.C. protest against the incoming President, spread like wildfire on social media. Suddenly, women across the globe were planning their own marches and protests against anything and everything.
I never really saw myself as a traditional ‘feminist’, as such. If you had asked me two years ago if I was a feminist, I would have quite literally laughed in your face. So what changed my mind? The honest answer is that I’m not quite sure.
I’m happy to admit that I’m a feminist nowadays. I’m not ashamed to say that I will stand up for my own and other women’s rights. Maybe it’s because I have grown-up and perhaps only now can I understand the real meaning behind the term ‘feminism’. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of feminism is: “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. This is how I see feminism now.
I’m not embarrassed to say that I didn’t always see feminism in that way. When I was younger if someone was to mention feminism I would automatically, and without thought, associate it with negative connotations of the aggressive pushing of a female agenda.
Unfortunately, a lot of important and often influential people continue to present feminism in this way. Piers Morgan, who has an audience of millions every morning and a following of over 5 million on Twitter, has regularly voiced his anti-feminist views, although outrageously claiming to be a feminist. Most recently he was rightly criticised for his decision to speak about feminists being ‘rabid’.
Annoyingly for a lot of women, who experience the inequalities first hand, this is the view of people that they have to deal with everyday. If you are one of the people who do not agree with feminism, then it is likely that you don’t understand the real meaning of the word. It is not the intention of feminists to lift women onto a pedal stool above men, it is their intention to work towards equality for both women AND men.
It could be my involvement in the media that has made the disparity between men and women apparent to me. In journalism, the number of women with leadership roles compared to the number of men is actually seriously concerning, and it is particularly bad in comparison to a number of other professions. I know for certain that I don’t want to grow old in a world where I won’t be paid as much as a man doing the exact job as me.
Women have every right to want to be seen as equals. If this is not the case, then we, as men and women in a civilised society, have a duty to do something about this. I commend the women and men who have been protesting for their rights across the globe. I sincerely hope that other women will take some form of empowerment from those around them, whether that is the celebrities at marches, or closest family members.
Finally I should say, do not be afraid to fight for your rights, and for the rights of the women who surround you, whether you are a woman or a man. If you do this, then you’re a feminist too.