Last year I took a class called SEED (students seeking educational equity and diversity). On the first day we played a game called “step into the circle if.” Which works as you would imagine, someone in the middle states something about themselves by saying “Step into the circle if,” and everyone who identifies in that way steps into the circle.
Our class was made up of primarily women (in a class of about 20 I think there were 6 males). When someone said, “Step into the circle if you are a feminist,” every single woman in the room and one man stepped into the circle, besides me and one other woman. I was surprised by this, but I had such an aversion to the word “feminist.”
As that day’s class went on and we talked about issues that women face, I noticed that I was one of the people getting most heated about these issues. I was unmoving on what rights I thought ALL women deserve, the equality we deserve, and steps that need to be taken to change the “status quo” of women in society.
I suddenly realized that I was a feminist, that I am a feminist. Because feminism is not about waging a war against men, in fact it has nothing to do with men at all. It’s about declaring my value as a human being on this planet.
I think it’s easy to say (especially in the United States) that equality is increasing, discrimination in the workplace isn’t happening anymore, etc. Regardless of whether or not this is true, there are still issues to tackle:
“I had no concept of what female leadership looked like outside of AIESEC and no concept of what working with a group of women more talented, successful and ambitious could be like.”
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Women everywhere are making it to their mid-twenties, mid-forties, until the day they die, without ever seeing women in successful leadership roles, much less groups of women leaders affecting positive change. This is not to say that it’s not happening, it just certainly needs to become more visible. Seeing reflections of ourselves in these types of leaders will spark new ambition and aspirations. It should also become more visible so women couldn’t miss these role models if they wanted to, otherwise we could make it through our entire lives missing out on something that we didn’t even know we were missing out on. And I don’t mean that every single woman needs to see a positive role model and then want to start a feminist revolution…women should choose whatever is right for them. But by presenting all parts and opportunities of the female existence, I think we will begin to facilitate a clearer road to equality.