Gender equality is not merely a woman’s issue, it is a human rights issue.
I found myself inspired after watching Emma Watson’s United Nations speech, concerning feminism. Given the opportunity as a Women Goodwill Ambassador, the actress vocalised her awareness of a need for change. Feminism unfortunately still falls under a taboo umbrella and is often adversely addressed as man-hating. If you were to look the word up in a dictionary, it is defined as ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’.
I have often questioned gender based presumptions. A mindfulness that was catalyzed by the enquiry my dad made when I was of a tender age, ‘when you grow up do you want a career or children?’ confused I replied, ‘why can’t I have both, as you do?’
I am fortunate to live in an age where this issue is continuing to become of more significance with each heart beat. Being of British nationality I am also not exposed to the prevailing, most raw consequences of gender inequality, which go on in other parts of our globe.
Today I learnt that there are around 113 boys born in China for every 100 girls. While some of this ratio might be biological, there is evidence of sex-selective abortion, neglect, abandonment, and even infanticide of infant females.
In my English Literature studies I have touched upon the roles of men and women, referencing Arthur Millers ‘Broken Glass’. Set during 1938, upset and turmoil was not typified of the male gender, furthermore displaying these emotions in public was undeniably, frowned upon. Restricting emotion was customary of men and is backed by Marcus Tullius Cicero’s statement ‘Viri autem propria maxime est fortitudo’, in translation ‘a man’s chief quality is courage’. The context of the play proves to me that progression, regarding the positions of men and women has been attained, yet there is far to go. An aspect of Emma Watson’s speech which I thoroughly support is that gender inequality furthermore affects the male population. Male parenthood is much less valued by society and man is stereotyped as insensitive and aggressive. Watson declares, ‘both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…’
‘HeForShe’ advocates freedom. Freedom that can be achieved through ceasing to define each other by what we aren’t, but instead by what we are. The goal of gender equality can be embarked upon through publicity and exposure, so spread the word today.