The encompassing definition of feminism is the support and advocacy of political, social and economic rights for women equal to those of men. This can also mean that we recognize feminism from different perspectives for different women regardless of race, sexual orientation, economic status, nationality, class, etc. When we operate from a space that supports and engages these ideals, we are free to encourage feminine values in our homes, the workforce and society. The core of its meaning denotes an inclusive ecosystem where women have real access to their choices, voicing their truth and living out their personal liberation unobstructed by repercussion or oppression.
Simply put, feminism is the belief for equality and humanity for ALL.
Female equality has come a long way – a real journey worth celebrating. But progress isn’t destined; it’s an outcome generated by our continued conscious efforts and determination. Whether propagating feminist terminology or not, there are people (many of them my heroes!) to salute for their dedication and leadership: Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah, Gloria Steinem, Angelina Jolie, Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, Malala Yousaf and other countless women championing their distinct purpose and fighting the good fight for gender justice.
Feminism has never had so much far-reaching support. It is not identified with “anti-male” judgment or female power rivalry. It does not have to be consigned to a pseudo-fashionable statement either. This slanders the development itself and can leave us caught in a discourse of misinterpretation, diverting us from improving our core goals. That is: humanity, equality, a place for everyone, especially women, to progress wholly. This requires a responsibility in learning what the issues are, understanding all the layers of a woman and how it impacts the woman’s ability to live a full life. It means opening our eyes, ears, minds and hearts to the discrimination, both subtle and overt, that women from every corner of the world face. It demands deep work in building social movements that are intersectional and not a one-size-fits-all formula because oppression is experienced in many ways (racism, bigotry, sexism, economic status, sexual orientation, violence, health issues, etc.) We are here to listen, be loud in what we believe in and work in bringing society closer to our highest ideals by advancing spaces for women’s meaningful participation.
We still exist in a time of great change, a time where many women are still systematically disadvantaged, living in the toughest of economic circumstances, suffering from abuse, violence and a lack of access to education and health. Our global progress requires thoughtful voices and multifaceted action for any efficacious impact to take flight. Feminism depends on a mind that demands freedom and collective activism from within so that we can dismantle harmful traditional narratives and reform the very systemic structures that oppress women. We need allies. If we want to shift our policies, our politics, and civil societies, we need to start cognitively and holistically, check our attitudes and help retool the system so that women who are the most vulnerable can be seen, heard and prosperous. Feminism is about women’s rights and equal power that benefits everyone.
Power and hope knows no gender. We all carry this within us. Women’s existence is a responsibility for all.
The world becomes a better place when we cultivate what makes us all truly human.