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On wage gap, equality and the future of feminism

by The Concordian March 3, 2015
On wage gap, equality and the future of feminism

This one is for the ladies on International Women’s Day

There are no hard and fast rules about what makes a feminist. Short hair or long hair, high heels or flats—women who believe in equal rights come in all shapes and sizes.

In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8, let’s take a moment to talk about the status of women in Canada today.

Although women’s rights have greatly improved in the last hundred years, there is still so much that needs to change for men and women to be equal. While we like to imagine that Canada is a place where gender divide, sexism and inequality is a thing of the past, this simply isn’t the case.

We probably don’t need to remind you, dear reader, of the many headlines of late ranging from issues of sexual harassment, domestic abuse and violence against women.

Feminism, yes the “F word,” does not necessarily mean burning bras, or letting your leg hair grow, anymore.

All feminism means is equality. That means getting rid of the glass ceiling. That means understanding what consent is. That means not judging a woman because of how she looks, or the length of her skirt.

We are lucky enough to live in a society where rape culture and victim blaming are actually being talked about in the public sphere. It may seem disheartening, but these important discussions are a sign of increased awareness about the realities of how bad it really is out there.

Canadian women have many rights that women elsewhere in the world do not, and for that, we should all be proud, but that does not mean that our society is perfect—far from it.

Women in this country still get paid 74 cents on the dollar (according to a 2011 Ontario Pay Equity Commission study) compared to men working the exact same jobs. Women of colour and women with disabilities make even less. This is a stone cold fact, and it’s an injustice of epic proportions.

So on Sunday, take the time to do a little research before condemning feminism as a dead or outdated movement. The second that we stop talking about feminism will be the day that the struggles of our foremothers are forgotten, and that history repeats itself.

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