Feminism is about equality
Feminism is about equality, not man-hating. If we are to achieve equality, we have to address this as human beings, rather than as a gender. Understand it is a global issue and not a religious problem. Recognise that breaking glass ceilings, equal pay and a seat in the boardroom is only one aspect and, affects a relatively small portion of women in the world. Most women are concerned with; protecting themselves against violence and rape, getting an education, enduring mutilation of their bodies, forced prostitution and finding clean drinking water so that they don’t have to watch their child, literally, die of thirst.
Feminism is about women confidently taking their place as an equal human being, side by side with men.
Do this - Hold up both of your hands in front of you. Both are equally important to you and you would not be without either by choice. Both have many identical capabilities, though they also have different strengths. So it is, with man and woman. If we are to achieve equality, men have to be willing feminists. The only thing that prevents that is fear. Fear that women wish to make them redundant, cast them aside and subjugate them. And, women have to find the confidence to take their place, knowing they have the support of other women, who will stand shoulder to shoulder in unity. We are the gender that pushes new life into this world and ideally, both parents would participate to raise daughters to be confident, secure, valued and strong, without them having to be masculine. And, to raise our sons, to be secure, respectful, appreciative of women and not fearful of women’s strengths. If a woman does not have a partner of similar mind, as the gender with arguably a greater influence on children, we should use it to educate our child, so that history does not keep repeating itself.
We have grown a tendency towards blaming particular religions for the subjugation of women. It is not the religion, but the men who seek to control women, all over the world. Honduras has the highest incidence of rape and murder of women aged under 25. Women in western countries, who have been raped, end up being the accused. Being told they were ‘asking for it’ because of the way they dress. The perception is that religion is to blame for clitorectomy and forced marriage, but it is male control over women that enforces it and women who visit this on their daughters because they fear the destitution of being an outcast.
My own Grandmother was treated badly by her in-laws. When my Mother failed her exams and did not want to repeat them, my Grandmother said ‘you will go back and repeat those exams as many times as it takes for you to pass them. When you have your own children, if your husband and family abuse you, you will be able to leave with your children and feed them’. This was a woman who did not have the benefit of a formal education but had the beautiful wisdom of experience. She was a trail-blazer, a feminist, without ever knowing it.
When my second marriage broke down, I was 41. My father said to me ‘ my darling you have always wanted a child. Women have choices now that they did not have 50 years ago. Go and explore your choices’. This is a man whose culture and faith would not necessarily encourage this. He is a Feminist.
Malala Yousafzai, an Afghani girl stood up for women to be educated and was shot by the Taliban. She won the Nobel Peace Prize. Her Father is a feminist. If he can be a feminist when all his teachings are likely to have been quite opposite, we can surely convince more of our men folk to understand and support Feminism willingly. Here’s how we can start to end the fear that has been instilled in men…..
…."hold up your two hands"…..