OPINION: The Feminist Movement is Not Going Away Any Time Soon

A sign seen at the 2018 Womens March.

SOURCE: Creative Commons, Google Images

A sign seen at the 2018 Women’s March.

The primary goal of the feminist movement is to achieve total equality between genders. Many people have recently begun to doubt the relevance of the modern-day feminist movement. However, there is plenty of evidence across the board signifying that feminism is still very necessary in modern culture.

The United States may have made great progress, but that does not mean we have reached complete and total gender equality. A major problem that feminism in America is currently tackling is the gender-related pay gap. During 2017, women earned on average about 82% of the amount of money that men earned. That means that in order to make the same amount of money at the end of the year, women would have to work 47 more days than men each year. The gap has become smaller since 1980 but no further progress has been made in the past 15 years. The pay gap makes it harder for women to support themselves and truly affects their ability to provide for themselves or their families. The large difference in pay also gives the impression that the work women do is less important and that a woman’s work is less valuable than a man’s simply because she is a female. The gender-related pay gap is another problem that the feminist movement works to protest and raise public awareness of, in hopes that someday men and women are paid the exact same amounts for equal amounts of work. Along with the wage gap, there is also a lot of gender discrimination occurring in employment. A study conducted in 2017 by Women In The Workplace found that only one in every five women in C-Suite (the highest position in a job) positions are women. That means that in a room of 100 CEOs, only about 20 would be women. The same study also found that women are 18 percent less likely to be promoted than their male peers. The discrimination against women in employment is yet another example of the ever-present sexism in this country that needs to be combatted, thus providing more reasoning as to why people should continue boosting the feminist movement.

Another example of why we still need the feminist movement is because feminism aims to achieve total gender equality worldwide and although America has advanced substantially, various other women across the globe have yet to even gain access to basic human rights. For example, a 2015 article from Women Across Frontiers discussed the fact that men in Papua New Guinea have the right to essentially buy a woman for marriage without her consent. The act of buying and selling a woman not only promotes the objectification of women, but also robs women of their right to make their own decisions. Another place in which gender inequality is extremely prominent is in Bangladesh. A huge issue that girls in Bangladesh are currently facing is child marriages. Because of things such as poverty and the girls’ parents’ wanting their daughters to have social and economic security, girls in Bangladesh are forced to marry at very young ages. A 2017 child protection study from The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that about 22% of girls in Bangladesh are married by the time they are 15 years old. Like women being sold into marriage, child marriages deprive young girls of their right to make their own decisions and also forces them into marriages with men who do not truly respect them as individuals. Feminism works towards raising awareness of and protesting these issues in hopes that these countries’ governments will respond by enacting laws to prevent them.

Many who believe that the feminist movement is exhausted and no longer essential believe that there is already equality between genders and that there are no longer questions to ask relating to gender inequality. However, through research or even just a quick glimpse at the surrounding world, one would see that there is still a lack of equality in our culture and we must continue to work towards making progress in that area. A good starting place is acknowledging the importance of and supporting the modern day feminist movement.