April 30, 2013

Maybe the F-Word Isn’t So Bad After All

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To be honest, I struggled big time trying to figure out what to write about for my last post of my college career. Jeez, that’s an uplifting start to a blog. Anyway, I decided that I would use my soapbox one last time to talk about something I never thought I would write about: feminism.

For those of you who know me, I very much refused to identify as a feminist for years. I was one of the few who was pro-Obama when Hillary was still in the running (wow, I remember complaining to my mom that she should just “LET IT GO”), which raised a few eyebrows from some friends. Some of those friends said to me, “How can you not support a woman? The only reason she wouldn’t get the nomination is because she is a woman.” Well, I’m not going to debate that, but as I said I was pro-Obama since his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, so I personally think Obama got the nomination on his own accord, not because his strongest opponent was a woman.

I digress. What I mean to say is that the whole “women need equal rights because it isn’t fair” argument never resonated with me. Whenever I heard it I would scoff and haughtily think, “Sister, life isn’t fair. Get over it.”

Then, in an effort to take one last class with some friends my last semester, I managed to see the light. I was converted, and I 100% consider myself a feminist, because I am most definitely one that believes in, as defined by Merriam-Webster, “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” I still don’t think that the reasoning women deserve the same pay, jobs, and opportunities for advancement is that it isn’t fair if they don’t. However, I do believe that women are just as capable – if not more capable – than men, so why shouldn’t they be paid the same and given the same opportunities to move up the corporate ladder? Companies want to hire the best minds to produce the best work to increase their bottom line. By not hiring women and/or not promoting women, companies are missing out on really valuable human capital.

There I said it: I’m a feminist. I believe the advancement of women is not just the right thing, it is good business. And you know what? It’s good politics, too.

I mean, just take a look at our government. It’s comprised mostly of men and most people would agree is completely useless at times because no one can agree to anything long enough to actually make and pass policy. I’m not saying that more women would guarantee more progress, but more women would mean more diversity, and diversity breeds dialogue, and dialogue breeds new, innovative ideas.

Of course women deserve the same rights as men because there is no logical reason why they shouldn’t. How can you say a woman should earn 23 cents less per dollar than a man because she may leave to have children? In today’s economy, women need to provide for their children just as much – if not more – than men. We all share the burden equally, and it is definitely time for all of us to share in the rewards.

Changing minds and perspectives is hard – trust me, I get this. It took close to 22 years for me to finally understand that at this point in time women and men are not treated as equals, and it is imperative for all women, AND MEN, to work toward a better tomorrow where full equality is a reality.

I would like to close with a quote from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “The man is the head of the house, but the woman is the neck, and the neck can turn the head into any direction.” So, ladies, let’s do what we do best and point our male colleagues and peers in the right direction. We all know that no one will be complaining when their bottom line increases…

So let’s hear it for the girls.

Original Author: Jaime Freilich

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