The divide between males and females has always existed, and despite us living in the 21st century, it continues to prevail.
The idea of being a feminist, or believing in the movement of feminism can be traced as far back as the late 19th century, but what exactly does this mean to us today? There are numerous social movement groups, charities, celebrities and everyday people who consider themselves as being feminists, and present their own opinions on what they believe feminism means. Media and the film industry also play a huge role in portraying various aspects of feminism and women empowerment, to the point where it almost seems like a far-fetched title that not everyone can claim. However, when we further examine the definition and reasoning behind feminism, we see that the underlying principle is something everyone is capable of practicing and believing, and that is equality.
In my opinion, feminism is the idea that women should have the right to gain equal opportunity, resources, respect and status as any other human being on the planet. The divide between males and females has always existed, and despite us living in the 21st century, it continues to prevail. However, I believe that eradicating this bias or lack of equality is possible if we all look within ourselves and ask ourselves some fundamental questions that revolve around our society.
Feminism should not be treated as something only people of power or influence can represent, but rather it should be regarded as another way for us to see the irrationality of continuing to deprive women of their basic rights and freedoms. As a young woman, I reflect back on all the times I heard women around me say that certain tasks are just better left to men, or that there are certain limitations girls have that boys do not necessarily need to worry about. As a society, we have spent a lifetime being surrounded by norms and teachings passed down from previous generations. Many of these teachings are great for us to learn from, but perhaps sometimes they do not allow us to think beyond what everyone else believes.
The whole idea of feminism is that we treat women as equals, and give them the appreciation and support they deserve. However, in today’s time, certain people declare themselves as feminists, and thus we think that only those people are capable of making a difference to this matter. I believe that the idea of equality should be instilled in every individual’s mind, and its importance should be emphasized from an early age, in order for us to see a massive shift in the upcoming generation.
Actions will change, but the way we think is what will serve as a precursor to positive change in society. Through my organization “Girls Empowered,” I strive to help young women understand and realize that we should be champions of equality. We should not treat ourselves as an elite group of people but rather push for seeking opportunities to prove that we can do whatever we put our minds to. As the world around us evolves, some problems finally get resolved, but new challenges appear simultaneously. The initiative for achieving equality is one that we continue to hope for, but I am confident that this feat can be accomplished if we open ourselves to adopting a new mindset. As Mary Shelley said, “I do not wish for women to have power over men; but over themselves.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jaskirat Sahni is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science at UBC. She is an active member of her community, and involves herself with important initiatives both on and off campus, such as Sci Team, UBC Blood4Life Club, and an organization she has founded, Girls Empowered. She hopes to combine her passion for healthcare and business in her future career.