by Jimmy Yates ‘21
On January 21, 2017, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, more than three million people participated in the “Women’s March” in cities across the United States in protest against an incoming president. Many of those standing in opposition to Trump’s disrespectful comments and behaviors toward women. Click here to see a few of Trump’s sexist comments and their consequences, and click here to see some of Trump’s sexual misconduct allegations. Later on in 2017, the #MeToo movement took off, as thousands of women opened up about sexual assault and harrasment they had experienced. Since the #MeToo movement and the women’s march four years ago, however, the feminist movement has slowed.
As a more progressive Biden administration comes into office, this is a renewed opportunity to push a feminist agenda, as both the House and Senate are both controlled by Democrats, although not by much. What is a feminist agenda? If you’re asking this question, first examine what it means to be a feminist. At its most simple definition, feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” For an in-depth look at different kinds of feminism, read this previous Warrior article.
It may seem that men and women are fairly equal today, as enormous progress has been made in the past few decades. But we are not as close to equal as we can and should be. In 2020, working the same job position with the same qualifications, women earned 98 cents for every dollar that men earned. But when ignoring job positions, women made 81 cents for every dollar that men made. In 2018, only five percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, down 25 percent from 2017, were women. Women are similarly outnumbered in S&P 500 company executive positions, and the list goes on and on. A record 125 women were elected to Congress in 2018, but women still find themselves significantly underrepresented in government. There are significantly fewer women than men with high paying, secure jobs, and the cycle does not seem to be slowing.
Why did feminism slow down? Does it really take a misogynist president with no filter to rile up citizens in support of equal gender treatment?
If you believe in equality, equal pay, and equal treatment and respect between genders, then join the feminist movement. You do not necessarily have to label yourself as a feminist, change political affiliations, or advocate loudly for feminism (although it would be awesome if you did). But at least stand up for women when you can. Admit that gender equality is a reasonable, attainable goal that should be made a priority. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
Want to find out more about the progress that needs to be made?