feminism

The first version of this post was first published on Medium by Tola Falonipe on 29/8/2019

Feminism is a movement for equality. True feminists are not man-haters but are rather advocates for the women. Feminism is the accordance of respect, equal respect for the man, and also the woman. Feminism is respecting the woman in her own individuality and not binding her respect to that of a man. It is awarding the woman the same level of reward as the man, for a task which they have given the same level of input.
So the above is me trying to explain feminism to you.

FEMINISM; THE STIGMA ATTACHED

Like I said earlier, feminists are not man-haters, there are however some individual feminists who actually detest men. Those are misandrists, not feminists.

A part does not depict a whole, even if that part is really loud.
Feminism is NOT jumping at every argument under the guise of feminism, it IS however tackling critical issues and changing the narrative where it actually matters.
The term FEMINISM has so much stigma attached to it that even people who fight for the cause refuse to tag themselves as feminists. Why? because they don’t want to be seen as toxic or man-haters.

Some time ago I heard a colleague talking about equality issues that concern feminism passionately and I excitedly asked her “are you a feminist” she looked at me weirdly and said “no I’m not, I’m a humanist, I’m for equality and I’m not a man-hater” I wasn’t surprised, it was not my first time of seeing someone with so much support for the feminism cause refuse to be termed, FEMINISTS.

We should all be feminists

I’m an acknowledged feminist, and no, I do not hate men. Feminists are men and women alike, fathers, mothers, businesswomen, housewives, boys, girls, etc. Like the Nigerian Author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said in her Ted talk, We should all be feminists.

Also in her book of the same title ;

We Should All Be Feminists is a book by Chimamanda Adichie in which Adichie argues that being a feminist means understanding and acknowledging that sexism exists.

  • Adichie recalls a male friend in her home country of Nigeria calling her a “feminist,” clearly meaning it as an insult.
  • Adichie then focuses on the wage gap and the gendered nature of economic power. In Nigeria, for instance, it’s assumed that any woman with money has gotten that money from a man.
  • Adichie concludes by saying that people do a great disservice to both men and women by teaching them to adhere to strict gender roles.

Issues that Feminism addresses

  • Education

Investing in girls’ education transforms communities, countries, and the entire world. Girls who receive an education are less likely to marry young and more likely to lead healthy, productive lives. They earn higher incomes, participate in the decisions that most affect them, and build better futures for themselves and their families. Girls’ education strengthens economies and reduces inequality. It contributes to more stable, resilient societies that give all individuals – including boys and men – the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Yet, according to UNICEF, Around the world, 132 million girls are out of school, including 34.3 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67.4 million of upper-secondary school age. In countries affected by conflict, girls are more than twice as likely to be out of school than girls living in non-affected countries.

  • Child Marriage
    • Marriage before the age of 18 is a violation of human rights regardless of sex and still, this inhumane act is still very widespread. Child marriage disrupts a child’s life by means of early pregnancy, lack of education, and limiting her career advancements not to mention the numerous negative mental impact.
  • Gender-Based Violence
    • Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience gender-based violence but the majority of victims are women and girls. It’s a global pandemic that affects at least 1 in 3 women in a lifetime.
  • Female Genital Mutilation
    • Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” FGM is a violation of girls’ and women’s human rights. While the exact number of girls and women worldwide who have undergone FGM remains unknown, at least 200 million girls and women have been cut in 31 countries with representative data on prevalence.
    • Below- Percentage of girls and women aged 15 to 49 who have heard about FGM/C and think the practice should end (including me)
  • Rape
    • Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability, or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.
  • Workplace Harassment/ Sexual harassment
    • Sexual harassment is a type of harassment involving the use of explicit or implicit sexual overtones, including the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from verbal transgressions to sexual abuse or assault.
    • According to Wikipedia, A common misconception about workplace harassment is that workplace harassment is simply sexual harassment in the context of a workplace. Workplace harassment is more than just sexual harassment. “It may entail ‘quid pro quo’ harassment, which occurs in cases in which employment decisions or treatment are based on submission to or rejection of unwelcome conduct, typically conduct of a sexual nature. 
  • Sex Trafficking
    • Sex trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery, which is considered a form of modern slavery. A victim is forced, in one of a variety of ways, into a situation of dependency on their trafficker(s) and then used by the trafficker(s) to perform sexual services to customers
  • Domestic divide

We’ve long known that the way couples divide housework can have a serious impact on a woman’s career. For example, in her 2013 book Lean In, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg advises women that unless their partners pitch in with at least 50 percent of the housework and childcare, they may not advance as much as they would like to in their workplace.

Millennial couples are equal in theory but unequal in practice. Even though the risks of working long hours may not be the same for millennial families due to changing views on the division of household chores, Vincent Passarelli, a clinical psychologist who also consults with companies on corporate culture and wellness plans, pointed out that the world is still in a “transitional” stage when it comes to domestic equality.

For example, a modern heterosexual couple may agree in theory that all household tasks should be split evenly. But despite the fact that men are definitely stepping up more at home compared to their forbears, the most up-to-date studies show that women still shoulder most domestic tasks — especially when children enter the picture.

Unequal Housework Could Be Damaging Women’s Health
Their work never ends. By Anna Almendrala 06/22/2016

So if you’ve been thinking that the domestic divide and division of labor was a minor issue, think twice.

What Feminism Is and What it Isn’t

There is a common misconception that feminists are reverse sexists, however, unlike male sexists who oppress women, feminists do not seek to oppress men. Rather, they seek equal compensation, opportunities, and treatment for both genders.

Feminism seeks to achieve equal treatment and opportunity for women and men in order to achieve similar opportunities across different fields of work and culture and equal respect in a variety of roles. Feminists theorists often explore the concepts with regard to which of women’s experiences are taken as normative: Do women of different races, classes, age groups, etc. experience inequality in significantly different ways, or is the common experience as women more important?

The goal of feminism is to create non-discrimination, which is essential for creating equality to ensure that no one is denied their rights due to factors such as race, gender, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political or other beliefs, nationality, social origin, class, or wealth status.

Lewis, Jone Johnson. “The Core Ideas and Beliefs of Feminism.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/what-is-feminism-3528958.

A woman who chooses(the emphasis being on choice) to cook and care for her family should not be bashed for not being feminist enough, just as a woman who can’t or chooses not to cook should not be criticized too. These are choices to be respected either way. A woman who desires to be happy raising her family should not be criticized if that’s where she finds her fulfillment. The same respect should be accorded to a woman who intends to face her career, who decides not to get married or decides not to have children.

They are not less of a woman because of it.
All these examples should make you understand what some “feminists” are doing wrong. Stop dragging the feminist movement in the mud, instead learn more and let us all educate ourselves on how to help this movement the right way. So many people are counting on you.

Change the narrative one step at a time, one person at a time. Hold difficult conversations. Not everybody will agree with you, do not lash out. Educate yourself, know the facts. The hardest and most important part is confronting people who don’t already agree with you.
My name is Tola Falonipe and I am Generation Equality.

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