Most of us who self identify as feminists have heard the retort that feminism isn’t necessary anymore, that we live in a post-feminist world. Especially those of us who live in westernized countries, we’re told that women are equal and at this point we just want something to whine about.
These people have to be wearing blinders. You barely have to scratch the surface to see that sexism and gender inequality are still so rampant in our society that most don’t even see anything wrong with it.
When someone says that we live in a post-feminist world, the first thing I would point to are the places in the world where it’s extremely apparent that women aren’t equal. I think that as long as women are considered secondary anywhere, the fight is not over. I’m not only concerned about women in my own country, I care about women everywhere and believe that all women should be free to live their lives as they choose, equal to males.
However, the notion that feminism is dead, even in the westernized countries, is a fallacy. I’m in the US so the facts below will be largely US based. However, many of these issues are still worldwide.
Women still earn less than men with the same education and experience. So while we have gained quite a bit of equality in the education arena, it’s still not leveling the playing field in the workforce. Employers often hire men over women out of fear the woman will get pregnant and need to take leave from work. Only about 14% of our elected officials are women. We aren’t even close to being equally represented in government.
The recent US health care bill was passed by compromising women’s health. Women have increasingly limited access to safe abortions and have issues with getting contraception through judgmental pharmacists who think that they know what’s better for a woman than she does. Women are denied requests to be sterilized because they are too young or don’t have children yet.
And yet, even with all of these limitations on our reproductive health, women are still the ones expected to take on the role of care giver.
In the US a rape occurs approximately every 2 minutes and 9 out of 10 of the victims are female. When a woman reports a rape, she’s met with questions on what she did to incite the attack. While the victim is blamed, only 6% of rapists will spend time in jail. Women can’t serve their country or go to college without taking a high risk of being raped.
I could keep going, however, I think that these three examples are proof that we are not living in a post-feminist world. And I would say that anyone who believes otherwise is coming from a place of great privilege.