Feminism: the radical notion that women are people too

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Feminism: the radical notion that women are people too

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Feminism has evolved a lot in the past one hundred years alone. Although the one true definition of Feminism is widely debated, the main goal of the movement remains the same, to ensure equal rights for men and women. In the twenty-first century it’s easy to think that there is no need for feminism, women have the right to vote, the right to free speech, and the right to work, but there are still other rights to win over. Feminism in the twenty-first century needs to evolve in order to include social issues, political issues, and other cultures.

Social issues in feminism are often looked over. Women in the work force are often expected to put their families first, while men are expected to advance their career. In fact, fifty-one percent of women in the work force say that having children under eighteen makes it harder to advance in their career, while only sixteen percent of men say they find it hard to balance work and family (Despite Progress, 2015). Why are women not as pressured to be in the workforce as men? It could be that most women feel intimidated in big groups of men. In a study by both Brigham Young and Princeton University, it was found that women are less likely to speak up than men when a group collaborates to solve a problem. This pattern of women not speaking up also has been found in classrooms. Columbia University recently found that male students are more likely to be asked abstract questions, while female students are more likely to be asked factual questions. Female students are also more likely to be interrupted before they’ve completed their response.  It’s easy to see how these social issues can affect women in the general workforce, and in their everyday lives. Women and men must be given equal opportunities if we want to end social issues in feminism.

Much like in the workplace, women in politics face similar issues. In the United States eighty one percent of the one hundred and fourteenth congress is made up of men. (Bump, 2015). Women make up half of the population, why do only nineteen percent of them decide the fate of our country? Many people would assume that it’s because men are better leaders, but in a survey completed by Pew Research Center the majority of participants stated that women provide better leadership qualities. Eighty percent of participants stated that women are more compassionate, and sixty two percent agreed that women are more creative than men. When asked in another Pew Research Center survey, twenty four percent of men agreed that women are better off not having children at all if they want to advance their political career. Men and women are not being given equal opportunities in politics, which is a severe drawback to the future of the government.

Equal opportunities in different cultures are hard to measure, but the basic right for a person to make their own decisions should remain the same. In recent years rights for women in Saudi Arabia have been a hot topic. Women in this country aren’t allowed to drive, try on clothes when shopping, or leave the house without a chaperone. How do they maintain their freedom while expressing their religion, and respect for their cultural values? While it’s easy to think that women in Saudi Arabia are being mistreated- and like in all countries, some of them are- we can’t use umbrella feminism when fighting for their rights. A lot of women in Saudi Arabia see wearing burqas as a form of self expression, and it helps them feel more rooted in their religion. The issue arises when a very fine line between freedom of self expression, and patriarchal control is crossed. While the Taliban was in control in Afghanistan, all women were forced to wear burqas. This took away their right to choose their form of religious expression, and forced them to be labeled as “a source of corruption”, one Taliban spokesman said. To understand the problem, is to find a solution to the problem. People need to learn about other cultures in order to provide equal opportunities to members of those cultures.

With so many issues in the world we live in now, it’s hard to tell one from the other. This is because every problem is related to another, and so is every solution. With a better understanding of the issues between men and women’s rights, a solution can be reached. Feminism in the twenty-first century must evolve in order to put an end to social issues, political issues, and cultural issues.

Sources Listed:

Bump, Phillip. “The New Congress Is 80 Percent White, 80 Percent Male and 92 Percent Christian.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

“Chapter 3: Obstacles to Female Leadership.” Pew Research Centers Social Demographic Trends Project RSS. N.p., 14 Jan. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

“Eleven Things Women in Saudi Arabia Can’t Do.” The Week UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

“In Which Countries Are Women Not Allowed to Vote?” WiseGEEK. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

“Men or Women: Who’s the Better Leader?” Pew Research Centers Social Demographic Trends Project RSS. N.p., 24 Aug. 2008. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

Sanghani, Radhika. “Feminism, Fashion and Religion: Why Muslim Women Choose to Wear the Veil.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

“True Islam – the Burqa.” True Islam – the Burqa. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

“Why Does the US Still Have So Few Women in Office?” The Nation. N.p., 07 Mar. 2014. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

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