The Webster dictionary definitions of feminism and a feminist are:
Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men
Feminist: A person who supports feminism
Now open up your mind and spend thirty minutes watching the following Tedx Talk given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
You may be feeling empowered or enlightened, but I hope you’re feeling more aware and conscious of the issues women face.
Four key points I took away from this talk are:
- “The person more likely to lead is not the physically stronger person, it is the more creative person, the more intelligent person, the more innovative person, and there are no hormones for those attributes.” Even though it was normal, and even logical, to think that men ruled the world years ago, that point is no longer valid. Our world leaders and visionaries. Just think about it, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Steve Jobs, and Marissa Mayer are not considered the most physically strong individuals in the world.
- “We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently. What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity and money?” Gender equality isn’t something we need to just teach to our sisters, friends, and daughters. Our brothers and sons need to understand this concept as well. We must instill the same values and ideals into males and females in order to be successful in this charge towards equality.
- “We raise girls to see each other as competitors.” Early on in my Bravo Group internship, I attended a PA Women’s Forum where Cheryl Dellasega discussed her book, Mean Girls All Grown Up. She pointed out that this is a common thought among females from as young as seven to as old as 80. She says women should think of each other as teammates, not opponents. At Bravo Group, 62% of our employees are women. We work to build each other up, instead of pitting against one another, making this a positive and productive work environment.
- “I knew that because I was female, I would automatically have to prove my worth, and I was worried that if I looked too feminine, I would not be taken seriously.” Women are often judged for their clothing, hair, and makeup choices. Intellectual capabilities and professional demeanor should be what makes women shine as leaders.
Chimamanda closes her speech with her own definition of a feminist: a man or a woman who says, “Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it, we must do better.”
With that I conclude, we should all be feminists for ourselves, our family, our friends, our colleagues, and those that we have yet to meet.
Cheryl and Chimamanda are not the only advocates for women’s equality and acceptance. For more information on the movement, check out Feminist Majority Foundation, He for She, and National Organization for Women.
-Ariana Stroman, Harrisburg Office