“You can have ambition, but not TOO much.
You should aim to be successful, but not TOO successful.”
You may have heard this in Beyonce’s song “Flawless”, or in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk “We should all be Feminists”. For many women around the world these assertions continue to be true today. Particularly in underdeveloped and developing countries the goals and aspirations of women are so often rejected. Regardless of skill, talent, passion or qualification, women’s dreams remain just dreams.
Wangari Maathai once said: “The higher you go, the fewer women there are”. Positions of power are so often held by men - whether they be CEOs of global corporations or politicians in major governments. This is even though there are more women than men in the world: approximately 55% of the population.
In a society like ours, there are so many important issues that need to be solved through innovative and creative means. We need to be looking toward leadership qualities found in men and women, such as intelligence, creativity and commitment ... things that both men and women are equally capable of. So why aren’t these positions split up equally between both genders?
I’m sure for many of you this is not particularly new information - gender inequality is apparent all over our world. However, it is often shocking to hear that even in progressive communities like Australia this barrier for women still exists. While we have laws that strive to attain gender equality, the reality is that in many areas of the workforce the gender pay gap still exists.
While I haven’t personally experienced inequality because of my gender, many women do. I know my goals in life haven’t been limited because I am a female and I’m incredibly grateful for that. For some of you, I’d assume this is also the case. We are lucky enough to be in the encouraging atmosphere that Danebank offers, where we can grow, learn and take control of our education.
It is incredibly important that we use utilise our position of privilege to do so. This can be as simple as acknowledging and supporting the achievements of other women - celebrating them for who they are and what they can accomplish. As women, we need to respect each other, lift each other up and strive for success together, rather than dragging each other down.
I know for many of us the word ‘feminism’ is nothing new. It’s a movement we’ve all heard of before. But it’s our attitudes and actions everyday that put us a step in the right direction for female empowerment.
For a long time feminism has been given a radical tinge, associated with aggression and man-hating. But realistically, its core ideas are firmly rooted within aiming for gender equality.
As Term 2 progresses, the Prefects and I encourage you to embrace our theme of empowering others, particularly fellow women - friends, sisters and mums.
I encourage you to take on board what I’ve said by staying informed and raising awareness in your local community. And most importantly, I encourage you to take action. Because without that, the word ‘feminist’ is just a label.
Yeah the Girls!
Jacqueline Stephens, School Captain