Why do we Fight for Gender Equality?

In 2019, “feminism” is considered a dirty word by some. It is oft repeated that we have gender equality (with a Eurocentric, Westernised view). Despite progression towards gender equality, the world still has a long way to go: and below EMA students from around the world give their reasons as to why they still fight for gender equality.

Meredith from the US
After many protests, marches, lobbying, lectures, petitions, and acts of civil disobedience, American women were belatedly guaranteed their right to vote on June 4, 1919 with Congress’ passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Nearly 100 years later, a century later, Alice Paul’s statement remains truer than ever:

“It is incredible to me that any woman should consider the fight for full equality won. It has just begun.” –Alice Paul, American suffragette 1920

We still have a long way to go, and many people to convince, that women’s rights are human rights.

Nuria from Mexico
9 women are murdered in Mexico every day. – UN Women

I fight for gender equality in order to be heard, seen, and taken into account. I fight for this, in order to not get killed in a country filled with misogyny and macho culture. I fight for myself, my grandmothers, my mom, my sisters and all the girls that want to reach a safe space in school, in the workplace, in government, in politics or at their homes. I fight for a future female Mexican President, for a Mexico with less femicides, more opportunities, security, dignity and where everyone fits in; no matter their gender, sexual preference, ethnicity and political will. I fight for all the women that don’t dare but someday will.

9 mujeres son asesinadas cada día en México. – ONU Mujeres

Yo lucho por la igualdad de genero para ser escuchada, oída y tomada en cuenta. Yo lucho por esto para no ser asesinada en mi país. Un país lleno de misoginia y machismo. Yo lucho por mi misma, mis abuelas, mi madre, mis hermanas y todas las niñas que quieren un espacio seguro en la escuela, en el trabajo, en el gobierno, en la política o en sus casa. Yo lucho por una futura mujer presidente de México. Por un país sin feminicidios, más oportunidades, seguridad, dignidad y en donde quepamos todos; sin importar el género, tu preferencia sexual, tu descendencia, o tú querer político. Yo lucho por todas las mujeres que no se atreven pero algún día lo harán.

Photo Credit: Josh Martier

Janne from Belgium
The World Bank recently found that there are only six countries in the whole world where women have equal legal rights to men, this is not even in practice: just legally. If that doesn’t show that we have to keep fighting, I don’t know what will.

Volgens de Wereldbank zijn er slechts 6 landen ter wereld waar vrouwen en mannen volledig gelijk zijn voor de wet, en dan spreken we nog niet eens over de praktijk. Hoe kunnen we dan zeggen dat de strijd over is?

Bronagh from Ireland
I fight for gender equality because around the world women are being treated with less dignity precisely because they are women; because women make up two thirds of the world’s illiterate people; because less than 20 per cent of the world’s landowners are women; because violence against women continues to be portrayed as a family problem rather than a crime; and because as we face into climate disaster, the world needs women’s leadership.

Myriam from Spain
In Spain, we have never had a female Prime Minister and only 2.8% of big enterprise’s CEOs are women. This is due to stereotypes of women as mothers and caretakers and not as leaders. We need to fight those stereotypes to reach gender equality!

En España, nunca ha habido una mujer presidenta del Gobierno y únicamente el 2.8% de las CEO de grandes empresas son mujeres. Esto se debe a la existencia de estereotipos que aún consideran a las mujeres como madres y cuidadoras y no como líderes. ¡Tenemos que luchar contra esos estereotipos para llegar a la igualdad de género!

Tarek from Syria
In Syria, Syrian women don’t have the right to give Syrian citizenship to their children. They must have a Syrian father. Therefore, and for too many other reasons, we still have a very long fight towards gender equality.

في سوريا ، لا يحق للمرأة السورية إعطاء الجنسية السورية لأطفالها. يجب أن يكون لديهم والد سوري. لذلك ، ولأسباب أخرى كثيرة ،

لا يزال لدينا كفاح طويل للغاية نحو تحقيق المساواة بين الجنسين.

Photo Credit: Josh Martier

Francesca from Italy
In 2019 in Italy Women and Men are two fixed categories – heterosexual, of course. Any discourse which does not fit this rationale will be labelled as a dangerous deviance.

What Normal Man and Normal Woman should do is get married and make a family. If they want to divorce, which is not desirable, they will have to go through a cumbersome and costly process including a “mandatory family mediation” – see the Pillon Decree.

If a woman gets murdered, it will not be because of sick social dynamics, but because her partner was a little too jealous: the murderer’s sentence might be reduced to half, because he acted under an “emotional storm” (sic!) – see the Olga Matei case, 2016.

We stand up to remind ourselves and the world that this cannot be how we live – and cannot be how we die! This cannot be normalised.

We stand up for everyone, of every gender, ethnicity and social class, to be free from fear and discrimination and to have the same opportunities and quality of life.

Kaloyan from Bulgaria
Gender inequality affects negatively, though not proportionally, 100% of the world’s population. It is in our common interest to reject the status quo and create a system equal to all genders. A system in which women are not paid less than men for the same job, sexually assaulted or harassed, or being blamed that the latter was caused by their choice of make-up, clothing or simply their beauty. A system in which men are not ridiculed for crying, being hurt or wanting to play with a doll instead of a car. A system in which men and women, or whichever combination one can think of, raise their children together, sharing their household responsibilities and benefiting from the same, equal opportunity to pursue a career while doing so. It is our duty to work hard for such a system and we should start by buying a mirror.

Неравенството между половете засяга негативно 100% от световното население. В интерес и на жената, и на мъжа е да се отречем от наложените ни стереотипи и да създадем равностойна за всички система. Система, в която жените получават същото възнаграждение за същата работа като мъжа. Система, в която жените не са изнасилвани и, още повече, обвинени, че сами са предизвикали изнасилването заради облеклото или грима си. Система, в която мъжът може да се разплаче, да покаже слабост и нежност, без да бъде осмян. Система, в която жената и мъжът, или каквато и да е друга комбинация, отглеждат децата си заедно, споделяйки наравно домашните задължение и имайки равна възможност да се развиват професионално. Наше задължение е да изградим такава система, започвайки с вглеждане в самите себе си.

Photo Credit: Josh Martier

Cristina from Italy
I fight for gender equality because I am sick of being intimidated when asked about my marital status during job interviews; because I cannot tolerate seeing a young girl being sexually harassed on the tram while going home; because I want my amazing friends Nacho and Daniele to be able get married in their own country; because there is still so much to do to enjoy authentic equality… Women, stay wild.

Milena from Austria
Why do we fight for gender equality?

So many women and girls experience physical and sexual violence by their intimate partners, men are expected to choose “masculine” professions, female journalists are intimated by rape threats, low representations of women in governments and parliaments, day-to-day sexual harassment in public transport, the stereotyping of social/family roles, men struggling to get parental leave, TV discussions without any female experts, …

Why should we all not fight for gender equality?

Warum kämpfen wir für Geschlechtergerechtigkeit?

So viele Mädchen und Frauen erfahren (sexuelle) Gewalt von ihren Partnern, von Männern wird erwartet “männliche” Berufe zu wählen, Journalistinnen werden mit Vergewaltigungsdrohungen zum Schweigen gebracht, Frauen sind in Regierungen und Parlamenten noch immer weit unterrepräsentiert, die “alltäglichen” Belästigungen in öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln, der Zwang den gesellschaftlichen Rollenbildern für die Frau und den Mann zu entsprechen, der Kampf der Männer um Väterkarenz, Fernsehdiskussionen ohne eine einzige Expertin, …

Warum sollten wir nicht alle für Geschlechtergerechtigkeit kämpfen?

Arwa,  Palestinian
Women have been oppressed for thousands of years, and women’s struggle for equality is one of the oldest struggles in history. In this century some women have been able to break the ceilings of oppression and rise above them. For this reason women are closer than ever to equality and should keep on in their struggle, holding the hands of those left behind and following those who are paving the way.

إن نضال المرأة من أجل مساواتها بالرجل هو من أقدم النضالات في التاريخ. حيث عانت المرأة على مدار آلاف السنين من ظلم واضطهاد المجتمع الذكوري.

منذ مائة عام، استطاع جزء كبير من النساء كسرَ الكثير من الحواجز التي كانت تعيق مسيرتها ونضالها، ونجحن في تحسين وضعهن في مجالات عدة إذا ما قورن الأمرُ بالماضي.

لذا، فإننا اليوم أقرب من تحقيق المساواة المنشودة ويجدر بنا أن نؤمن بنضالنا ونمضي به دون تراجع، وأن نمسك بيد مَن ما زلن خلفنا لنلحق، معًا، من سبَقْننا.