Why feminism?

Why feminism? Some of you may have liked the idea of a freelance writer but thought ‘Why has she got to be feminist?’ A lot of people cringe at the idea of feminism. I have been warned that being so openly feminist could put people off. Before you make any judgements, let me explain.

Some people don’t like feminism because they think its too controversial or political. They just want to be neutral. Some people don’t like feminism because they think it is no longer necessary. They think that equality has been achieved and any further developments are going too far. Then you have the people who don’t like feminism because they see it as a way for women to dominate men.

Of course, there are people with more extreme views than that but I don’t think they are clicking on this website with an open mind so there is no point in addressing them. Now I can understand why you would have the three views I have stated so take an opportunity to understand my viewpoint.

I am a 21 year old woman.

I am in the age group that is most likely to experience domestic abuse (16 to 24 year olds are the most at risk).

A survey conducted by Cosmopolitan and Women’s Aid found that 38.2% of young women experienced a partner pressurising them into doing something sexual when they didn’t want to.

The Violence Against Women: an EU survey found that one woman in three in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15.

The Everyday Sexism book written by Laura Bates states that ‘Girls as young as 5 are worrying about their weight’

That’s not a good start already. But how about my future?

In politics, it’s not looking good.

The Everyday Sexism book has a shocking statistic for that too – ‘At the current rate it will be more than 150 years before an equal number of women and men are elected to English local councils.’

Just existing in a public space doesn’t look much better.

YouGov found that 55% of women in London have been subjected to unwanted sexual behaviour while travelling on public transport.

Professionally things aren’t looking too good either.

The law firm Slater and Gordon found that 1 in 8 women have left a job because of workplace harassment.

Starting a family will disrupt my career even further.

Human Rights Commission research found that ‘one in 20 mothers were actually made redundant at some point during their pregnancy, either while pregnant, during maternity leave or after returning to work.’

Even in the home, I am disadvantaged despite all the calls to end the double shift women are expected to do.

Check out this research from Lean In: ‘Women with full-time jobs, a partner, and children report spending a combined 71 hours a week on child care, elder care, and household chores — compared with 51 hours for men.’

I could give you a lot more statistics but I think you get my point. There is a problem with the way we treat women and girls. From the time we are born and throughout our lives, women are disadvantaged and hurt. Don’t worry I do know about how gender stereotypes harm men too. Read this article if you don’t believe me. I just can’t ignore the inequality.

It’s really hard to live in a world where you know you are being mistreated but the general consensus is that it’s not happening or not as bad as you say. As a writer with a voice and a platform, I have to work to improve the experience of women.

Feminism has changed throughout the years. The introduction of intersectional feminism has shifted the focus away from just gender to include other types of oppression.

Only considering the disadvantages of gender was too restrictive. It often meant that only the experience of white middle-class women was considered. Other forms of oppression change a women’s experience such as race and class. Feminism needs to be representative of all women.

Safe Lives have found that disabled people are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse than non-disabled people.

The UK Parliament has found that unemployment rates are higher for people who aren’t white. For white people, the unemployment rate is 4.5%. For people from minority ethnic backgrounds, this is 8.5%.

Again I could go on with statistics. To keep it simple, the world needs changing. If I’m not going to speak out about it, who is? The label of feminism doesn’t really matter. What matters is what you do. For me, feminism focuses my attention. I live my life as a feminist every day because sexism and discrimination is something we face every day.

Fresh fem sign off

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