Revisiting feminism: What’s the next step?

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Back when I was at university, I had an article published in McGill’s FWord Publication about my view that “Feminism is still relevant and necessary today if women and men alike are not fully emancipated and are constrained by societal conventions.” After leaving academia for some time and entering the professional world, I can appreciate more why this movement is still necessary.

The core of feminist’s ideal is equality for humanity.  When I think of what constitutes genuine gender equality, I believe it is when people are valued fully as individual human beings, regardless of their gender.  Gendered stereotypes in the workforce continue to discriminate individuals from progressing in their careers.

Recently, I participated in the Our Turn Collective’s ideation party: an initiative to help women in their personal and career development.  I’ve met many young women who recounted their obstacles when it comes to their careers; surprisingly, many of the struggles reflected their internalised self-biases.

For instance, studies have shown that women have lower self-esteem than men, so they are less inclined to take risks and are more likely to undervalue their abilities. Women are more naturally humble and apologetic. I can say so from my own experience. I find myself saying “sorry” way too often and I can see how my female friends and I are constantly filled with self-doubts. Here’s a BuzzFeed video that depicts this stereotype of women in the workforce:

When women (or anyone) second guess themselves, they undermine their strengths and are easily taken advantage of—therefore hindering themselves from progressing in their careers.

So why do many women have these internalised self-biases? I feel like this reflects a deep-seated view about women’s role in the workplace.  As Kristine Stewarts (author of Our Turn) puts, “I’d say the far more insidious and stubborn barrier to women’s advancement is still the entrenched belief that men are better suited to leading than women are.”

Now, I am not trying to blame men or women for causing this issue. What I hope to achieve is to help more people realise how certain gender biases are preventing individuals from reaching their full potential.

From the discussions that I had at the Our Turn Collective and from what Kristine Stewart has said in her book, there’s also a consensus that women have to work harder to prove that they’re worthy of career advancement. It’s unfortunate that this is still a reality. And so, I think the next step for feminism is to continue to assess and address the deeply entrenched views about gender that may hinder individuals from achieving greatness.

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