BY AINSLEY HILL
The most influential women use their voice not for themselves, but for those who lack their own. These women recognize the rights and opportunities they already have. They put aside their minor issues to help women across the world who live without basic rights. This feminism, where women help other women in more desperate situations, is in higher demand than feminism that focuses on personal struggles. As a woman who does not feel personally oppressed, I join this group of women who fight for the less fortunate.
I do not feel the need to fight for my rights. I am lucky to live in a nation where there is no group legally superior to another. To some women in the United States, gender roles in the workforce is their biggest problem. These issues are often mistaken for legal issues. However, the U.S. laws are not to blame. Laws prohibiting gender discrimination in the work force. Furthermore, The Equal Pay Act of 1963 makes gender discrimination in determining wages illegal. The government has legislated equality of opportunity. The government cannot legislate equality of outcome. It is impossible to promise every woman a high-paying job. Some women do not want a full-time job. Women shouldn’t be frowned upon for choosing not to work. If anything, stay-at-home mothers should be celebrated for their courage to give up a career. The feminist movement emphasizes acceptance and support of a woman’s right to make her own decisions. It is unfair for the same philosophy to be turned into a criticism of women who choose not to pursue a career in the workforce.
Feminism, I believe, is about using my power as a free woman to support other women worldwide without basic rights. I find it disrespectful to prioritize smaller scale women’s issues while women across the world struggle with harmful inequality. Instead of standing up against gender roles, free women could stand up for the 39% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa who marry before age 18. Rather than being indignant about how “laundry is a woman’s job”, women could be indignant about the cruel gender mutilation in Indonesia. Women in third-world nations would willingly live with our stereotypes if it meant being permitted to drive a car, leave their home, and wear what they choose. Feminism should be about liberating women everywhere who need of a voice of advocacy.
My feminism about advocating for others. Hopefully, our society can prioritize other people’s needs above their own. Together we can liberate women who are constrained by harsher chains. There is more to be gained from speaking for those in need of a voice than letting your voice go hoarse from speaking for yourself.