Happy Women's History Month!
Written by Stacey Khizder
March is known for a lot of things… March Madness, Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s also Women’s History Month! This month (and every month), we recognize intersectional feminism, GRL PWR, and its contribution to history, social, and political change. While this holiday is used to celebrate the various achievements of women world-wide, we also observe the need for furthering gender equality. For women, there is still a major division of labor, underrepresentation in media and leadership, social inequality, violence and harassment. These problems are not as severe for men.
Domestically and internationally, women are treated as the inferior gender. Unfortunately, it’s even worse for women of color. For instance, the representation of gender and race in the corporate pipeline favors white men over white women, and white women over women of color. According to the Women in the Workplace 2016 report conducted by Leanin.Org and McKinsey & Company, the representation of white men leads in every corporate position, from entry level to c-suite.
Meanwhile, roughly 20% of Congress is made up of women, a statistic that is not representative of the 51% of women that live in the United States. This month, let’s celebrate the incredible, strong, ruthless women in Congress such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Gillibrand, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Barbara Lee, just to name a few. However, we must also acknowledge that women, especially women of color, are missing from legislative roles… and it’s because they’re not running for office. This carries into a much deeper issue.
As children, we are taught socially constructed gender roles that turn into biases and are carried on into adulthood. From observing sexism in our culture, representation, leadership, and beyond, children learn that women are missing from positions of power. With this, women grow up thinking that they aren’t “smart enough” or “respected enough” to win a seat in office, while men grow up thinking that they are. This is also one of the many reasons why women are a minority in media. However, times are changing, and the sexist norm is slowly dying out. A new survey conducted by Politico and American University found that Donald Trump’s Presidency is inspiring more women to run for office. The 45th President represents racism, sexism, and bigotry. However, the mass opposition to his leadership is mobilizing more women to Resist and unseat the problematic leaders that helped put Trump in the White House. This Women’s History Month, celebrate by keeping an eye out for the progressive women running for office this election year.
Movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp have made women more comfortable about reporting misconduct, harassment, and inequality in the work place, however, the battle is not over. Observe Women's History Month by keeping the conversation around misrepresentation, male privilege, and sexual harassment alive.
While we think about the social constructs of feminism in America, we must also acknowledge how much it’s lagging in other parts of the world. Fortunately, social movements such as the Women’s March became an international phenomenon. In 2017, 2.6 million people marched globally in support of a feminist revolution -- one that demands socio-economic equality and equity for all. This is a movement that is not close to being over as long as we support women, hire women, believe women, and defend women world-wide. Encourage women to continue making history.