Last Tuesday was International Women’s Day, and I don’t know about you, but this professedly celebrational day saw my social media news feeds filled with a sorry for itself mix of derogatory memes and self-righteous “meninist” posts. Even more shocking was the fact some of these posts were being shared by women themselves.
Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe in some senses we have progressed to a point in society where I should be allowed to smile, and find these things funny, (and I do) in a way that laughs in the face of these dated and stereotypical factors.
However, I also think we may have stepped back a few steps into a direction where women are intimidated into feeling as though they should be ashamed to call themselves a feminist, that it means you hate men, or that being a feminist means no man will ever want anything to do with you. The definition of feminist has been so alienated, torn apart and warped by society that many don’t even know what it means to be one any more.
Many celebrities in the public eye, some who unwittingly pioneered and shaped where we are today, such as Madonna, Katy Perry and Shailene Woodley reject to be identified with the term, through fear of being associated with its negative man-hating connotations. Whether through lack of education, or sheer stupidity and lack of charisma, these are people who disappointingly have been given the societal platform to clarify the misconceptions and spread a positive message, and should not be tearing it down.
It leaves a feeble standing for women who want to follow in these deceivingly powerful footsteps, and make a big difference themselves.
Although women hold almost 52% of professional-level jobs, they represent less than 10% of top management positions in the U.S, and fewer than a third of the UK‘s most influential jobs are held by women. In fields like science, tech, engineering and math (STEM), women represent less than a quarter of all professionals. Teza Technologies CEO, Misha Malyshev, works with nonprofits to reduce this trend and support programs that encourage women and young girls to enter STEM fields.
International Women’s Day takes place every March 8th and is a day for celebrating women’s achievements all over the world. This year’s theme is gender parity, calling for equal access to opportunities for men and women.
Whilst I have possibly gone down the most stereotypically feminine career path I could have chosen, even in this field, women only hold 1.7% of CEO jobs in Fashion.
We need to be looking at why this is. Are women from a young age taught that they need to be a lesser person, a lesser earner, and of lower level of success in order to be accepted in society. Are we really still at such an underdeveloped stage that a successful women is seen to be intimidating to men, or unfeminine?
Eradicating these fears and stereotypes and giving young people in education a fair chance and a fair perception of what is ‘okay’ for them to choose is so important. Is there a deeper set reason as to why, despite achieving A’s in Science, Maths and Technology, I was not pushed by the education system to pursue those subjects further? Would I have been, if I were male? Maybe, but perhaps not.
It’d be interesting if you comment below your gender and career or degree field. Let me know what you think