When we talk about gender equality, we are really talking about gender inequality. Women are still being treated differently to men. This isn’t new news – it’s a story as old as time itself.
In years past, men went to work while women stayed at home with domestic duties. Men took roles of power while women were placed at the lower rungs of employment. And heaven forbid if you were black as well – consider the treatment of Katherine Johnson, the NASA scientist so wonderfully brought to life by actress Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures.
Sexism is detrimental on both a professional and a personal level. Trying to make it up the career ladder is difficult enough, but women have often faced sexual harassment and assault from male colleagues in their bid to better themselves.
In some sectors, particularly Hollywood, the ‘casting couch’ was accepted as something that ‘just happens’ in the industry. Thankfully, changes are being made.
The #MeToo campaign became viral after the scandal involving Harvey Weinstein and his treatment of women working for him. Social media was flooded with women reporting cases of sexual harassment and rape at the hands of men in authority over them.
In 2017, the Women’s March took a stand in Washington, with men as well as women taking a stance for pro-women’s rights. More women than ever before are throwing their hats in for a chance to run for political office.
Calls are being made for equal pay regardless of gender. International Women’s Day called for empowerment for every woman, black or white, gay or straight. Voices are being heard.
Change is Needed for Gender Equality
It’s fantastic that change is being called out for. But then this is nothing new, as the suffragettes of the late 19th century would tell you. We have a feminist movement – but why should women be classified as feminists in the first place?
Labels shouldn’t need to be given, as equal rights should be classified as a basic human right. But there is light in the male-dominated world. Women are now reaching positions of power – Hillary Clinton, whether you like her or not, should still be admired for running against Trump in the elections.
Women are now working in traditionally male-dominated fields, and attempts are being made to increase diversity. This is especially true of the oil and gas industry, where scholarships for women can be found at Greasebook.com to even the balance.
Male leaders are being held accountable for their actions towards women, and are being ousted from positions of power when misdeeds come to light – goodbye Harvey Weinstein! The world is changing for women, but it’s been a long-time coming.
While we are at a tipping point for change, more still needs to be done. In 2018, women are still being paid less than men. Women are still the dominant force at home, with domestic duties.
Women, afraid of gender bias, are still avoiding higher-paying fields. Changes still need to be made, mindsets still need to be altered, and male employers and employees alike still need to be made accountable for their judgmental attitudes.
When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, change is coming but we’re not quite where we should be yet. Still, you could make a difference. Raise your voice with the thousands around the world and stand up for change, whoever and wherever you are.
If you’ll like to make a difference no matter how little, we suggest you begin with reading ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’ by Sheryl Sandberg.
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