Friends!! Today is Women’s Equality Day here in the US, and of course, being an intersectional feminist I had to put up a post for it (especially since it fell on a posting day too hehe). In this post, I’m going to respond to common arguments people make against women’s equality, and show you why the movement for women’s equality is as valid as ever. It’s gonna be a hefty post, but I’m ready for it so I hope you are too 🙂 Let’s get going and learn how to advocate and fight for equality all over the world!!
Here I’m going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions/respond to popular sayings about Women’s Rights from people trying to lessen or discredit the impact of the movement. This is for those of you who slide into my DMs asking me to explain how women are unequal to men, those of you who leave comments on my blog telling me that they’ve never seen or heard of women being treated as lesser to men, and those of you who are big believers in women’s rights and want a better way to argue back when people ask you these questions 🙂
First I want to mention that the majority of these statements and questions are typically made by people living in the United States. A lot of times, the rest of the globe is left out when people begin to argue against women’s rights, which quickly leads to the dismissal of inequalities outside of America. The world is more than the United States, which means women’s rights have more to it than what you see in the US. I invite you to remember this as you read. Let’s get started:
- What rights do men have that women don’t?
This is the question of all questions and lemme tell ya, if anything can make me upset, it’s people asking me this. The answer to this question lies bold-faced in the world around you and finding it is as easy as a look around or a quick google search on your phone. I took the liberty of running a quick search myself to prove it can be done. Here are some facts that prove men have rights women don’t have around the globe:
In 46 countries, there are no laws in place protecting women from domestic violence by men, virtually allowing the violence to continue (ONE).
In North Carolina in the US, there is a loophole that allows a form of rape to be legal. It prevents women from withdrawing consent and claim subsequent actions are rape (Global Citizen).
Child marriage is still legal in 116 countries. Although this affects both girls and boys, in many countries the minimum age for boys to get married is higher than that of girls. For example, in Sudan, boys can marry at the age of 15 while girls can get married at 10 (indy100).
Rapists have parental rights in 7 US states and rape victims can be legally forced to split custody with their rapist (HelloGiggles).
Women are not allowed to take part in over 450 professions in Russia (ONE).
This is only 5 of the hundreds of laws and rights that men have over women. The fact that a simple google search can make the “what rights do women not have” argument invalid shows how prominent the fight for women’s equality on the global-scale needs to be.
- I’m a woman and I’ve never experienced discrimination because of my gender, so I don’t see the need for feminism and women’s rights movements.
I’ve gotten this statement said to me more than a few times in the past, and it’s always been said by a white woman. As a white woman, I urge those of you who have this thought cross your mind to take a step back and acknowledge the privileges you hold. First and foremost, you have white privilege. White privilege is you watching TV and seeing your race widely represented, being pulled over by a cop and knowing you weren’t pulled over because of your skin color, having the majority of history you are taught being distinctly centered around the white person’s world, etc. As Gina Crosley-Corcoran said in her article in the Huffington Post, “Whether you realize it or not, you do benefit from it [white privilege], and it is your fault if you don’t maintain awareness of that fact.” Other privileges like being in the middle or upper class, practicing Christianity, being able-bodied, and being straight are also important ones to be aware of.
Just because an issue doesn’t affect you personally, doesn’t mean it is an issue you shouldn’t fight for.
Women of color are disproportionately represented in the media, shows like black-ish and movies like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther are some of the first to make steps towards a more diverse Hollywood. This race representation is vital in empowering other African American and Asian women everywhere. Black women are three times as likely to be a victim of gun violence than white women (Everytown). On a global scale, women and young girls make up 80% of the 800,000 people being sex trafficked every year (Do Something) and education is scarce or illegal for girls in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan (Peace and Human Rights).
Also, you have to think of the women that aren’t cisgender and identify as non-binary or transgender. The inequalities they face are immense. They’re constantly denied the right to simply be themselves and discriminated against in everyday tasks like shopping for clothes, finding a job, and going to the bathroom.
Women’s rights movements are crucial for fighting the injustice people face because of their gender on the daily around the world. I’ll repeat what I wrote earlier: just because an issue doesn’t affect you personally, doesn’t mean it is an issue you shouldn’t fight for. Maybe you have never personally experienced discrimination because of your gender, but millions of other people have, making this world an injust and unequal place. That should be enough for you to see why feminism and women’s movements are needed.
Read my Seeing Past Your Privilege blog post to get more insight into this topic.
- What about us men?
The famous quote, “Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It’s not pie,” sums up my answer to this question in the neatest way possible. No one is stripping men, particularly white men, of the rights that are already in place for them. Women have rights to gain and men have nothing to lose in helping them achieve this goal.
To all the men reading this post: When you question the fight for women’s equality, you are questioning whether or not your mothers and sisters and daughters deserve to be equal/treated as equal to you. You can easily educate and advocate for women’s rights and take part in the empowerment of women everywhere. Nothing will hurt you or your rights because of it.
- The gender wage gap is a myth.
First of all, women’s rights is so much more than just the wage gap, so even if it didn’t exist (spoiler alert: it does), that does not discredit the women’s rights movements. But since people are so adamant in the use of this argument, here are some facts to know about the very real gender wage gap.
In the US, women make 80 cents to every dollar a man makes, and for women of color that gap is even wider (NWLC). Although, unlike most people are led to believe, the 80 cents to a dollar number does not reference the wage gap between women and men with the same experience and skills doing the same work. It is instead showing the difference in wages between males and females that work full time across all kinds of jobs, regardless of experience and skill (FEE). Nevertheless, the gender pay gap is still very real and not something to be skipped over as almost 5% of the gap is in fact due to discrimination based on gender and race.
Quick summary: the wage gap is not a myth and the fight for women’s rights is also more than just the wage gap 🙂
- What is intersectional feminism?
This isn’t a question asked by those arguing against feminism, but rather one I feel the need to throw in here for those of you wanting to enhance or start your feminist journey! Obviously, feminism has evolved over the years as people’s ideas of the world have. Intersectional feminism means taking into account class, culture, religion, race, sexuality, ability, and gender and finding the discrimination in these areas then fighting for and lifting up the marginalized in the respective areas.
It is to ensure that more privileged women (i.e. white women) don’t overlook, overstep, or center feminism around themselves. I highly recommend reading Rachel Cargle’s “When Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels” article for Harper’s Bazaar to learn more about being an intersectional feminist.
Also, check out the “Tips for Being an Intersectional Feminist this Women’s Equality Day” on one of my favorite feminist sites, Make Muse, to discover ways to become a better, more-educated intersectional feminist. I contributed to it, so when you’re scrolling through you might see a familiar face alongside of other feminist influencers, artists, and change makers! It’s definitely worth the read, I learned a lot just from reading the other tips, so go check it out 😉
That’s all for today, folks! I hope you enjoyed this post and gained some insight into what the fight for women’s equality truly is and why it is so important. Leave a comment below with any questions you may have, I’m open to answering almost anything. Thanks so much for reading!