A wake-up call to the world: The movement for gender equality


It seems like feminism is everywhere today: on televisions, through radio, social media, the Oscars — the con­cept of gender equality has captivated society for those who advocate the subject but molds itself into a night stalker for hostile individuals.
Feminism didn’t resurrect itself only recently. It’s just been collecting dust for a while.

Rather, gender equality has emerged in distinct waves over the last century.

The term originated in the mid-1800s, defining female attributes. In 1892, during the First International Women’s Confer­ence in Paris, the term was described as the “advocacy of equal rights for women based on the idea of the equality of sexes,” as noted by Sally Haslanger, professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy and co-author of “Topics in Feminism.”

First-wave feminism occurred with an emphasis on voting rights and the passage of the 19th Amendment. This would begin the winding road toward gender equality.

In the 1950s, Simone de Beauvoir sparked an interest in the movement through her writings. In her book “The Second Sex,” she elaborated on the objectification of women, who were regarded as “the sex” — merely an object of pleasure. In the 1960s, Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” served as a voice for the mundane lives of ‘60s housewives, and it was the cherry on top of what soon became a fight for the legal rights of women.

After decades of hibernation, feminism has re-emerged.

This generation is part of the third wave of feminism, which embraces women of all colors, sexes, religions and so on.

“It means having the same opportuni­ties presented to you no matter what your gender,” said Michaela Renee Hines Fatino, student.

Feminism is not about “man-hating,” as Emma Watson had stated at the U.N. Women’s HeForShe event. Feminism, now popularly being used as “gender equality,” objects to the patriarchal world.

Women shouldn’t dwell on being the homemaker whereas men don’t have to be the breadwinners.

“It means having an equal economic and political value,” said Jon Parton, editor in chief of The Collegian.


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