Many people might believe that the goals of feminism have already been achieved. Women have the vote and are not barred from entering any professions; what more could we ask for? However when we really look at our society are we as equal as we’d like to believe?
There are currently 146 female politicians in the UK, out of 650 members of parliament and only 5.8% of CEO’s are female. Even when women do achieve high power positions they still face sexism, for example at some of the UK’s top firms including The Bank of England and Ernst & Young sessions are held exclusively for women advising them on how to ‘Dress for Success’, where they are given tips about how much make up to wear to look like ‘the right kind of professional’.
Not only are we still a long way off achieving gender parity in powerful positions in the work force but also gender inequality is really noticeable is in society’s attitudes to women.
One area in particular where we see this is the pressure put on women to conform to societies narrow view of beauty. 1.5 million people in the UK have an eating disorder and of those 90% are women. Staggeringly a quarter of teenage girls believe it is more important for them to be beautiful rather than clever, because this is the message which the media constantly pushes on them through photo shopped images of emancipated models and celebrities. This problem is often worse for women of colour who are being sold skin whitening cream to achieve the unattainable ideal of western beauty.
As UPSU Women’s Rep I feel passionate about the issues women face in the UK and worldwide, and I want to create an opportunity for anyone who identifies as female and all allies of feminism to be able to voice their reasons for believing feminism is still necessary today.
Monday 25th November is the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to mark this day we will be holding the Who Needs Feminism Campaign in the Student Union. We will also be encouraging people to sign two petitions, the first is the EVAW’s (End Violence Against Women) petition calling for compulsory sex education, including consent, in the national curriculum. The second petition is to stop Female Genital Mutilation, as I wrote about in my previous article. Please come along and share you reason for needing Feminism at the event on Monday.