I have a branded t-shirt written “We should all be feminists” a title from Chimamanda Adichie’s book. Each time I wear this t-shirt people ask me what feminism means to me. Honestly, I always lack an answer because am not the most composed human. (How do you come to me with a sword and I with a stick 😛)
Today I have decided to address my side of feminism. I repeat this is my view on what being a feminist means to me. I will admit I don’t follow any feminist on any social media site. If anything I have only read one of Chimamanda’s book and barely know of any other feminist.
So, what is feminism to me? I equate feminism to equity. The opportunity to treat all in fairness without any prejudice on a certain gender. Fairness is recognizing that some groups might have special needs to be as good as others. It’s ensuring that you provide an equal environment for both genders to be productive.
When I was in high school, I had schoolmates who had severe menstrual pains and would have days off till they get better. Back then that was a girl’s school, therefore, the majority understood the situation but what about now in a working environment? Where companies are out to make money (no offence that is the whole intention of a business).Do you tell the management you need five days each month because womanhood can’t allow you to be as productive as they expect you to be?
It’s such things that bring up feminism. To create awareness that we are different genders that need to co-exist in the same environment. Most organizations were created with our male counterparts in mind. I will applause them for creating an environment that is suitable for them but more and more women are joining the workforce. How are we creating an environment suitable for them? To be as productive and deliver as their opposite gender. This does not apply in workplaces alone but also in our schools and homes.
I don’t agree that being a feminist is being equal to a man. We can never be equal. We were all created differently both physically, emotionally and mentally. Our approach to things will always differ. Take me for instance, I like things done in an orderly fashion and with less pressure but I know of my male counterparts who thrive under pressure and with a lot of work. And it works out perfectly. At the end of the day, we all deliver despite our different methods.
Let’s not focus on being equal because we will never be. Let’s focus on encouraging more women to be educated and employed or play crucial roles in traditionally male-dominated industries (such as tech) and roles while we fight to have an environment that they will appreciate. To get the respect they deserve despite their gender. Only then would we say we have achieved true feminism.