Category Archives: Feminism

When Women are Leaders

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Women are not typically found in leadership roles, especially in the workplace. In fact, only a quarter of chief executives are women and most of that is because of women who own their own businesses. This is because of two main reasons: men tend to be favored for management positions and are given the experience that leads to them, while women get stuck in a cycle of bias. Because women are unable to prove their ability in management positions, they are not given management positions, causing them to not be able to prove their ability.

In this study from the American Psychological Association, men and women in leadership positions were observed. While women tend to use mentor style leading and men tend to use commander style leading, it was found that they are in fact equally effective in leadership positions. Actually, Alice Eagly, PhD noted that in some ways, women are actually more effective in leader ships positions.

There is no reason for women not to have leadership positions. They are equally effective as men, if not more, but because they have not had a chance to prove themselves, they are not given the chance. One organization working to give them a change is the Institute for Women’s Leadership. They provide training programs for businesses that help them get more women into leadership positions. It is important for women to demand and strive for leadership positions in the workplace, because they can and will do great things. You can do this by starting to apply for higher positions in any organization you are involved in, like clubs or teams at school. So, girls, get out there and show the world who’s boss.

5 Myths About Abortion Debunked

By: Cassandra Hedrick

There is a lot of information about abortion circulated these days. But how much of it is true? Because of the wide variety of sources available is can be hard to tell. So, let’s look at 5 myths about abortion and talk about why they are wrong.

Abortion increase the risk of breast cancer

This is a straight up lie made up by anti-choice activists. It is unsure exactly where it started, but since it began circulating, scientists have been studying it. No scientific study has shown any link in breast cancer and abortions. Even the World Health Organization put out a statement saying this.

Prohibiting abortion will lead to fewer abortions.

The logic behind this makes sense. If it’s illegal, less people will do it. However, this simply isn’t true. 19 million illegal abortions are performed every year. The truth is, women who have unwanted pregnancies will do what they have to. This means making abortions illegal will just make them unsafe. Just like alcohol prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking, abortion prohibition will not stop people from getting abortions.

Women who have abortions can suffer from “post-abortion syndrome”

This is the idea that women who have abortions will develop depression or bi-polar disorder because of it. It is supposedly a post traumatic disorder. However, there has been no scientific evidence found. In fact, most women have reported feeling relieved after getting an abortion. Read more here.

Abortions are unsafe

Like any medical procedure, there can be risks to getting an abortion. Complications can happen and, if the doctor is not following all of the protocols, things can go wrong. But, like any medical procedure, abortions have very low risks and are generally safe. There is more risk giving birth to a child than having an abortion

Abortions can cause infertility

Like the link to breast cancer, this is a rumor completely made up by anti-choice activists. Safe, legal abortions will not lead to infertility. Women return to their normal fertility and menstruation shortly after an abortion and there are no long term affects.

There are a lot of “facts” circulating about abortion, so it can take some digging to find the truth. Just make sure you look for the facts to back up any claims you read. If you want more information about abortions, the procedure, or risks you can visit plannedparenthood.org or call their main center.

Slutty and Proud

 By: Cassandra Hedrick

A major issue that women face today is the double standard when it comes to being sexually active. Men get praised for sleeping with lots of women, but women are called sluts for doing the same thing. Now, women are taking back that word. Instead of being ashamed of their sexual activity, women are expressing pride and being bold in sharing that pride too. One way they are doing it is by hosting “Slut Walks,” an event started by Amber Rose, a celebrity and proud slut.

Throughout my high school career, “being a slut” was one of the worst things a girl could be called, whereas men were congratulated even celebrated for it. I, being a proud slut, was judged and shamed for my sexual behavior. For example, when I slept with my high school boyfriend, everyone called me a slut for it, while my boyfriend was able to brag about it. After we broke up, one guy who liked me ended up rejecting me because I had “slept around.” This judgement followed me to college when two different guys who had already slept with me called me a slut. But I didn’t let it get me down because I am proud of my sexuality.

Amber Rose has the same outlook on life. She created Slut Walks to bring awareness to the double standard we see in sexual activity, as well as rape culture (blaming women’s behavior for why they get raped). This is an annual event that has performances, contests, protests, and even cancer and HIV screenings. You can learn about the events at amberroseslutwalk.com and even set up your own slut walk.

These kinds of events are important to lifting awareness to the gender inequalities women face because if their sex lives. I urge straight men to stand up and push back against these double standards too.  There is nothing wrong with having safe and consensual sex, no matter what your gender. And remember, if straight girls don’t have sex, straight guys won’t either.

The Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

By: Nicole Mclaren

            Your gender can indicate and in a way predict how much you will make in our lifetime. Truth be told that is not the only physical feature that can have an impact on your income, your race, nationality, sexuality, are some of the other things that could also do that. These things along with opportunities, social-economic status and community can play a large role in determining how much money you are able to make during your life.

Looking at women across different ethnicities, we each make less than our male counterpart. Asian and white men make the most with Asian and white women falling behind them. While Latino, Native Americans and African-American women make the least but are closer to closing the gender pay gap with males with the same ethnic background. This pay gap between males and females stays pretty much the same as education levels increase, which shows us that it is not the sole variable. The largest gap between the genders when looking at occupation is “Financial Managers” and “Software Developers”. Even controlling for other factors like education, job field, and race there is still a gap between men and women.

Many people dispute the fact that the gender pay gap is real and that it should be written off by other variables. To those people, I want to say that this utterly false. It is our duty to address not only the gender pay gap but to use these facts to address the other factors that influence income inequality. We must think about these intersecting variables and how they can have real implications on people’s lives.

Unless we do something to address these issues the gender pay gap is not going to close and women will continue to make less than men for another 50 years. That is a huge chunk of our lives that we are contributing to the economy as workers and not being fairly compensated. If you feel like you and your fellow women deserve to be paid equally I encourage you to get involved with local women’s organizations. You can start here by becoming involved with American Association of University Women (AAUW), they provide important education about women’s rights and also are politically active. I used their data to write this. Just click on the link for opportunities to get locally, politically involved or provide financial support.

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50796/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=20897&killorg=True

Fighting Sexism

By: Nicole McLaren

A young girl raises her hand to share her view on the topic at hand in the classroom, while she is sharing a male classmate cuts her off, not allowing her to finish. While this may seem like an individual scenario there are many instances in classrooms, work places and in personal situations where women face this subtle form of sexism. Many people downplay the harmfulness of this kind of sexism and focus on the overt Trump video scandal escalated acts of sexism (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wM248Wo54U). Both are sexism and both need to be called out when they occur.

Most women face subtle sexism throughout their lives whether that is at work, school or home. These more covert acts of sexism, like someone interrupting you while you are speaking, being asked to take notes in a meeting, or your friend thinking they know how you feel more than you do, are harmful to women and society. By allowing these seemingly harmless acts to take place we are contributing to the dominance of patriarchy in our society. It is our duty as women to stand up for ourselves and other women when we see these things taking place. It may feel uncomfortable to call someone out for interrupting you or a fellow woman but in order to create change we need to make people feel uncomfortable with the patriarchal norms that are so ingrained in our social interactions.

Our every day interactions say a lot about our society and there is a connection with women being empowered economically, socially and politically and the level of misogyny in a culture. From my perspective there is still a high level of misogynistic behavior in our society and I see it as my obligation to push back against these norms so that we can have a more equal society when it comes to gender relations.

Womanism vs Feminism

By: Cassandra Hedrick

The Difference and Why It Matters.

When we think of women’s rights, we usually think of feminism, a well-established movement fighting for women’s rights. However, that is not the only women’s rights movement out there. Womanism, a term coined by Alice Walker, is very similar to feminism, but also makes a point to include women of color, which feminism didn’t in its early years. To be this does not make sense because, historically, civil rights have been so closely connected, especially during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Womanism is based in the everyday experiences and problem solving of African American women. It also focuses less on strictly women’s rights and includes issues of equality for all races and genders. Meanwhile, feminism, which is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis on gender equality,” hasn’t always included women of color.

In fact, early feminism and feminists were kind of racist. Women of color would have to march in the back of protests. Beyond that, white feminists did not even think about the issues black women faced, such as racism or poverty. For example, during the women’s suffrage movement, white feminists did not fight against things like poll taxes or literacy tests that would prevent women of color from being able to vote. Even in the recent women’s march, there has been criticism of white feminists not prioritizing the needs of women of color, such as women of color not being allowed to have natural hair in the work place.

While feminism has become more open to women of color, as well as gay and transgendered women, Womanism was there to bridge the gap that early feminism left. I’m not saying it is bad to identify as a feminist, but make sure you consider the experiences of women of color, which may differ from your own. Feminism and Womanism both stand for equality and whether you stand with one movement more than the other, you should too.

Feminism is for Everyone: How the Patriarchy Hurts Men Too

By: Jillian James

 

Recently millions of women gathered all across the world to advocate for feminism and their rights. The faces of women of all races and backgrounds were on TV screens all across the country as they raised their voices and spoke out, sending a message to the nation.

However, it is important to remember that women’s rights are human rights. While women are the face of feminism, a patriarchal, hyper-masculine society actually hurts both women and men for multiple reasons.

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BREAKING NEWS: PEOPLE CONTAIN MULTITUDES

Every single human being, regardless of sex or gender, feels a wide variety of emotions. Societies that perceive men as being weak or devalued because of their expressions of emotion are creating unhealthy environments and are actually emotionally stunting. Sayings like “boys don’t cry” and “be a man” are toxic. In order to have emotional well-being, every person should feel safe and secure in expressing their emotions, and societies and cultures should applaud and encourage emotional expression instead of making it be perceived as a sign of weakness.

RELATIONSHIPS 101: COMMUNICATION IS KEY

In order to be in a healthy and happy relationship, partners must be willing to communicate and be emotionally honest. This can be a struggle in heterosexual relationships because hyper-masculinity can put up emotional walls. If a society puts little to no value on a man’s ability to be emotionally honest and vulnerable then he will struggle to feel comfortable communicating in an intimate relationship.

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WOMEN’S HEALTH: MEN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT TOO

Men in heterosexual relationships should feel comfortable asking women questions about their health, and women should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it with their partner. Being able to have open discussions about periods, birth control, and other topics in a relationship is incredibly important. Having both partners be well-educated and informed on women’s health can make you both feel more comfortable and confident in a relationship.

Living in a patriarchal society is limiting for both genders. There are actions that can be taken in order to actively fight the patriarchy in society. Don’t be afraid to call out anti-feminist or hyper-masculine behavior. Try to educate the men in your life about women’s issues and women’s health and encourage them to express their emotions. Taking steps to de-normalize toxic masculinity will help create a healthier society as a whole. A society that has gender equality is an overall happier place because the boundaries of gender expectations and ideals are gone, and instead people can live their lives freely and become their truest selves.

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Are Women Worth Only 80% of What a Man is Worth? : A Closer Look at the Pay Gap in America

 

By: Jillian James

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Women are dominating in the workforce. Currently there are more congresswomen and female CEOs than ever before, and women are equal or main breadwinners in four out of ten families.

However, women’s wages do not reflect their achievements and contributions to the workforce. In 2015, women made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. That’s a wage gap of 20%.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, it will take 42 years, or until 2059, for women to finally achieve equal pay for equal work.

Newsweek magazine states that women complete college at higher rates than men. Women are more likely to have higher GPAs and earned 47% of all law and medical degrees in 2014.

According to Newsweek magazine the average male surgeon in earns 37.76% more than an average female surgeon. This means that a female surgeon loses $756 in potential earnings a week, leading to a yearly loss of almost $40,000.

The pay gap is a real issue that affects real women. Lilly Ledbetter worked at Goodyear for over a year before shockingly learning that she was being paid less than her male counterparts. She ended up suing the company in 1988 for paying her far less than her male counterparts even though she was performing the same work. Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times, also was paid less than her male colleagues for performing the same duties.

Some argue that the pay gap is simply a myth made up by feminists. Others argue that women are paid less because they choose to cut down on their hours after having children or that they can afford to be paid less because they usually aren’t the breadwinners in a family. These harmful workplace stereotypes are simply untrue.

Our cultural mindset needs to change to reflect the economic and academic reality in our country. Women are now a vital and fundamental part of the workforce, and they put their time and energy into their jobs everyday. Men are no longer the sole economic providers for American families, and women are choosing to have children later on in their lives or not at all.

It is also important to note that women of color have it especially hard and typically get paid less than white women. Minority women must be equally valued in the workplace and their contributions cannot be overlooked.

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In order to fight for equal pay, we must elect representatives who vow to fight for equal pay and not be afraid to negotiate our wages. Equal pay for equal work is the next big step towards gender equality, and we can’t stop until we receive the pay we deserve.

SOURCES:

http://www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discrimination

Institute for Women’s Policy Research

http://www.newsweek.com/hard-facts-about-pay-gap-between-men-and-women-322623

Women’s Participation in Education and the Workforce

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1350163/women_education_workforce.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/no-the-gender-pay-gap-isnt-a-myth-and-heres-why_us_5703cb8de4b0a06d5806e03f

https://www.theguardian.com/money/us-money-blog/2014/aug/13/women-equal-pay-gender-gap-stories-work

Women’s March 2017 Recap

By: Nicole Mclaren

 

The Women’s March on Washington and the sister marches were grassroots events that grew organically out of the current climate of our politics here in the US. The inauguration of Donald Trump, our 45th president, took place only one day before the event. There was also a historical moment that the march was celebrating, the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This march was able to combine both resistance to the political rhetoric surrounding women’s rights today and honor the fight for women’s rights in the past.

What is truly remarkable about this “movement” is that the importance of inclusivity is at the forefront. It is a reflection of our times and the modern feminists movements to address the fact that not all women have the same experiences and face the same troubles. There are factors like race, social and economic status, education, gender and sexual identity, language and cultural differences that have an impact on how we experience being a woman. It is important to address and celebrate these differences among the people involved in this movement as it gains momentum, we must also understand the connectivity of the various issues that affect us. We must  bear in mind the connection of immigration rights, civil rights, environmental justice, disability and worker’s rights to the empowerment of women across the world.

Planned Parenthood is one of the many organizations that is a partner to the Women’s March on Washington. The Florida chapter is becoming an official non-profit movement on February 11th and the group will host their first meeting in Orlando on the same day. Women of all ages are welcome to the meeting and it is important for young folks to be involved in this movement. The address is 134 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32801-1234, United States and here is a link to the facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/104697503381796/.

Gender History 101: Are Gender Roles Even Relevant?

By: Cassandra Hedrick

 

We all know the traditional roles men and women play in society. Women are gentle and nurturing homemakers and men bring home the bacon. This is why when we were kids the girls got dolls and play kitchens, while the boys got toy lawn mowers and nerf guns. However, this system is made up by society and completely bogus.

The first evidence of gender roles is the well-known hunter/gatherer roles from the cavemen era. The men would go out and hunt for food and fight enemies, while the women would gather food and plants to eat or use as medicine.Gender_1 This dynamic arose for two reasons: 1) because men tend to be physically bigger than women and 2) because women were more valuable when it came to maintaining the population. One man could impregnate as many women as he wanted, but a woman can only be pregnant once every nine months. This meant the men were a little more disposable.

Throughout time these gender roles have changed depending on the society. For example, in ancient China the women-in-the-home stereotype was strictly enforced, but in ancient Greece women were given more freedom. Gender roles depend so much on society that even the invention of the plough moved men into the fields and women into the home because it required upper body strength to work. Actually agriculture in general has had a massive impact on women’s roles in society, because as farming became more complex, women started doing more work inside the home.

Even though gender roles are completely dependent on society, we still feel the need to enforce the idea that women belong in the home and men at work.Gender_2 But, when you think about it even a little bit, it doesn’t actually matter which gender does what as long as it gets done. There is literally no reason women need to stay at home with the kids, because they are probably in school anyway. And men don’t need to be the ones who go to work because they are completely capable of changing diapers and doing dishes. If they aren’t, they probably shouldn’t be leaving the house anyway.