We are all witnesses of problematic issues the world faces everyday, but we can’t just let things pass, we have to adopt active participation to make a change. Studying the story of the World Youth Alliance, I discovered an inspiring story that evidences the importance of speaking up. In 1999, Anna Halpine witnessed in an international conference a group of young people claiming they represented the world youth and demanding a list of things that she didn’t agree with. Instead of complaining and doing nothing, she decided to respond to it and raise her voice. Because of that, there’s now a global organization fighting for human dignity everyday.
I found motivation in this anecdote because it demonstrates the power and capabilities we have when we adopt a leading attitude in our community. It made me realize I could also adopt that initiative and not only be an observer but try to make a change in the people that surround me, with problems I see in my daily life. That’s why lately I have been reading, learning, and talking with my friends and family about a topic that I’ve been, little by little, becoming more aware of: the fight for equality.
A year ago I would think about the word “feminism” and felt disconnected or detached from what it represented. I would just relate it with radical ideas that even go against human nature, so it was a fight I didn’t want to be a part of. But a number of reasons have made a transformation in the way I see this movement and everyday I become more conscious of why we need it. I still don’t agree with some ideas that are associated with the feminist cause, like abortion, but I’ve decided to live this fight for equality in a way that respects the human dignity of all.
Men and women have the same intrinsic human dignity, so our value as persons is the same. That’s why we need equality. It may appear that legally, we are in fact equals because we all have the same rights, but socially speaking, there are still ideas that don’t allow this to be a reality. Ideas that get reflected in numbers when we speak about opportunities, wage rate, or even security.
In this awakening process, I’ve noticed daily actions where I, as a woman, feel oppressed and insecure. In professional spaces, I’ve felt how my voice isn’t heard, because men prefer to listen to other men first. Walking in the street, I’ve felt like a target of intimidation because for being a woman I’m seen as prey. “Men are more competitive than women”, “women can only get into positions of power by seducing men”, “I would rather hire a man than a woman, because she could get pregnant”, I’ve been told all of these things to my face, by men.
I’ve realized the way things are so normalized that we aren’t even aware of why it is problematic. Men find themselves in a privileged position, so they don’t experience the barriers that women do. And women, because they are used to things being like they are, they don’t oppose this status quo. So that’s why it is important to speak about it and create spaces where we discuss why certain things affect women and what we can do to change it.
Nowadays, feminism represents to me the way to achieve equality. To not pretend women are destined to certain tasks or that they cannot do certain things for being women. To not see them as weak or vulnerable against men. To respect them and don’t expect from them unreachable standards. To give them a voice and equal opportunities. It represents the unified voice of women demanding a change.
Published: December 17, 2020
Written by Diana Sofia Angulo, a current HQ Marketing Intern from Latin America. She is an Audiovisual & Multimedia Communication student from the University of La Sabana in Colombia.
Fertility Education and Medical Management (FEMM) is WYA’s sister organization and promotes women empowerment by allowing them to make informed decisions about their health. Learn more at femmhealth.org