Today, in the third and final segment of this series, we will explore the political side of female rights.
When people are questioned about the role of women in our world and in politics, a typical response such as this can be expected:
“Women have made a lot of progress in the world. Treatment of women, today, is far better than it was in earlier times, even as recent as a decade ago. But that change took time and it is unreasonable to expect things to happen overnight. Women leaders can’t just pop up in an instant.”
And while statements such as this have some truth at their core, their conclusions are flawed. Claims such as, “…there’s nothing we can do to fix the problem immediately,” help convince people to do nothing at all. After all, if nothing will be affected by our actions, why do anything? Why fight to have more women leaders, presidents, and managers? Change will never happen if we keep telling ourselves it will happen later, because change begins with each of us, and at this moment in time.
In the past, women could not own property, vote or sue for divorce. In fact, throughout world history, each civilization went through its own period of granting females certain rights, starting right from the very first civilization in Mesopotamia. Women have fought long and hard for voting rights, jobs, and more independence.
But equality hasn’t been reached. In the workplace, there are many more men than women. There are far more men as CEOs or in leadership positions than women. And guess what? It is the 21st century, yet for some reason, in nearly every country, women do not get paid the same amount of money as men for doing the same job. I have yet to comprehend how anyone can explain that as anything other than the blatant sexism it is, or why in this day and age it still exists.
The leaders of the world’s countries are also predominately male. The United States has yet to have a female president. The only major countries which have had female leaders are Canada, France, Britain, Israel, and Germany; and they have each only had one in their entire history of existence.
There is one argument I have heard in response to America not having a female president, which followed this line of thought: Women have so few rights in other countries around the world that if the US tried to have a female leader, no one would take them seriously.
That is another train of thought that we must derail immediately if we can; we cannot try to stop progress by claiming that it won’t work, or that it will have disadvantages. Nothing can be achieved without an attempt. And who would know better than Benazir Bhutto, two-time-elected Pakistani Prime Minister? Pakistan, a country that many would assume would scoff at the US because of their level of womens’ rights, has willingly elected a woman as their leader twice in its history. And so have many other countries.
Change is coming. It has been approaching slowly throughout history and it is still steadily making its way in our present. But don’t expect change to happen without your participation. Nothing can be achieved until there are people working to achieve it. And the more people strive to achieve this, the faster we can see equality.
If there’s one thing you’ve gathered from this series, I hope it was an eye-opener. Across the globe, strong evidence still supports the adage that this is ‘a man’s world,’ however, women can and will accomplish more in life than just marriage and raising a family.
So men, heed this advice:
Treat your mothers, sisters, friends, and daughters with respect. Don’t immediately make girls the cooks and the cleaners. Don’t judge the way they dress or look. Don’t take advantage of them, attack them, or belittle them. Don’t sit back as others try to take away or limit their rights. Don’t try to stand in the way of their dreams for success or education because of their gender.
And do not underestimate their capabilities.
Samantha Faye is an Indian-American teen who constantly looks for new venues to share the ramblings of her curious mind. She constantly questions society and hopes to make a positive difference in the world. Burdened by the hectic lifestyle of a youth attempting to successfully reach adulthood in one piece, she often turns to the release of reading and writing fictional stories. She aspires to publish a novel one day, but for now she resorts to posting her random thoughts on her blog.