To be born a woman is to be subject to mistreatment by society because of her gender. The perpetuation of gender inequality may not always be intentional, but its roots are deeply ingrained in the treatment and understanding of women. It’s ridiculous that an entire gender population has repeatedly been given the short end of the stick. Women are underrepresented, underpaid, and victims to various systemic suppressions of their appearance, their health, and their being. It is frustrating. Nevertheless, positive steps have been made to empower women. The following three points are just a few examples of how we can believe the future is brighter for women.
Sexual Harassment Cannot Be Ignored
Our country is becoming increasingly more aware of the injustices and difficulties some women (and men) face as victims of sexual harassment and assault. From high-profile cases like Kesha’s to the united outrage over the Brock Turner case, the general response has demonstrated that there is a growing awareness of victim-blaming and slut-shaming. What ignited this awareness was the testimony by Anita Hill in 1991 against then-Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas.
The case brought to light three major issues: 1) people are quick to put down the victim rather than the perpetrator, 2) our legal processes are not supportive of victims, and 3) due to the previous two problems, victims hardly come forward. It is thanks to Anita Hill that the national conversation shifted to better discuss sexual harassment and assault and support victims. Slowly but surely, we are building towards a future in which victims will be able to come forward without fear.
Gender Equality Continues To Be Trending
In 2014, Beyoncé performed on national television with the word “Feminist” shining behind her. The image instantly became one of the most popular symbols of contemporary feminism and the moment is counted as an induction of the gender equality movement into our popular culture. Since then, feminism has become mainstream and influenced our media-heavy world.
It’s affected the standards held to television and movies concerning female character portrayal and motivation. Articles reporting everyday sexism is now a staple in our news feed, frequently shared and reposted through different social media channels. Celebrity after celebrity come forward as feminists and advocates for women and equality. While some may argue that feminism has turned into a profitable trend, it doesn’t change the fact that feminism and women’s rights is now more known to the masses. And the overall population wants equality for women.
STEM Opportunities Are Not Male-Exclusive
Since the creation of the White House Council on Women and Girls in 2009, girls are being encouraged more than ever to pursue STEM studies and occupations. It is not simply in response to sexist impressions of girls and STEM fields though. As we make more scientific and technological advancements, it’s become incredibly clear that we must make sure that all those with the potential and interest in STEM studies are supported and not deterred by gender bias or stereotypes. It is incredibly possible that, because these biases, progress in these fields has been slowed or hindered and countless of girls may have been denied such success.
Now, there are organizations that inspire girls to code, to build, and to make scientific research. Additionally, top tech companies are putting a heavier emphasis on diversity and striving to give women equal opportunities. It is our hope that in the near future, our society can move on from narrow-minded thinking that suggests girls “don’t look like” they belong in STEM professions.