Category Archives: Gender Equality

Women in Politics: The Better Option?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180615094850.htm

 

Studies have found less corruption in countries that have more women in government positions. A study conducted across 125 countries has proven that there is less corruption in government policy when more women are in positions of parliament. In the United States, only 19% of the representatives in the House of Representatives are women, and less than a quarter of women members in Senate. Women who are given a greater sense of equality through governmental representation have been linked to the lack of corruption within local, state, and national government.

While this does not mean that women cannot be corrupt, the study points out that there is a need to promote gender equality, which has been found to lessen the corruption. More presence of women in politics has also been associated with a better education and health outcome within the community. The researchers Jha and Sarangi also found it important to cross analyze the presence of women in other career positions to find corruption correlations on a lower level. “This research underscores the importance of women empowerment, their presence in leadership roles and their representation in government, said Sarangi, an economics professor and department head at Virginia Tech.”

Title IX should be an effective tool in the fight against school violence

http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article211824529.html

 

I know that piece is almost like an advertisement requesting support of Title IX, but I feel as though it hits on an interesting point: the importance of addressing violence against women at an early age.

As I have expressed before, my thoughts on the need of society to reevaluate how children are socialized into the status quo of gender stratification and gender-based violence, the author of this short article is broaching this idea similarly. As data she references in her articles shows a strong correlation (54%) between school shootings and gender-based violence, I find it hard to ignore the statistics are hard to ignore.

Do you think that gender-based violence could be stifled by earlier acknowledgement and perhaps better management of violence among children?

Op-ed: Protesting India’s Inadequate Rape Laws

Savannah Bynum

NEW DELHI, INDIA – APRIL 17: Delhi Women Commission (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on fifth day of her hunger strike against Unnao and Kathua rape case on April 17, 2018 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The fundamental issues in India can be found in their outdated laws pertaining to what constitutes rape. Rape in India is defined as “penile penetration into the vagina,” which entails that only a man can be the perpetrator and only a woman can be the victim. The Indian Penal Code of 1860, with slight but not overwhelming alterations and updates, solidifies the concept of a gender inequality in Indian law. The pronouns used are female focused and thus enforce only a female victim and assume only a male perpetrator. The laws in place are faulty and provide legal loopholes to be exploited resulting in increasing outrage about the lack of enforcement for crimes of rape in India. It is imperative to shed a light on the atrocities being committed by utilizing contemporary court cases and public reactions in hopes that the pressure will cause the Indian courts and political officials to address and revise these outdated laws.

Conversations have to start somewhere, and in the case of India, the conversation can be seen visually over social media. Following a gang rape and eventual death of a 23 year-old female in Delhi, research was done based on the utilization and implementation of social media as the event and case unfolded. Journalists found that twitter served a helpful role in bridging contact between journalist and urban middle class public who were concerned about the incident and desired to know what transpired

This is a sensitive topic for everyone. It is said, statistically, in India there is a rape reported every 15 minutes, but that is only counting those who report what they have been through, not those who may stay silent. Only 1% of sexual violence is accounted for and reported to the police. And only 10% of married women reported sexual violence, even though it is known that rates of marital rape are much higher.

In Mumbai, India, the rape of a 22-year old woman by five men who claimed to “be on a hunt for a beautiful deer,” galvanized public opinion and outrage. The case was heard in 2023 and caused an uproar within the city about their rape laws. The woman was asked to re-enact a pornographic act that was shown to her on a cell phone by one of the men. This was not the first time these men had done this to a young woman, but none of the victims had ever gone to the police before. This case shows the acts of bored men who seemed to have routinely committed rapes in the same area. Yet nothing had been done to stop them. The seriousness of this kind of crime did not sink in until this case made headlines. Previously, few rape cases were prosecuted and when they were, the perpetrators were seldom punished. For that reason, victims were hesitant to come forward or speak out.In the wake of this case, India did enact changes to their rape laws passing numerous legislative reforms, commonly known as the Nirbhaya Act. The act saw increased penalties for sexual violence, including extending the length of prison sentences and introducing the death penalty in certain cases.

Yet even with the new laws, rapes continued to occur and often the perpetrators were not arrested or prosecuted. But there are multiple cases similar to the one just spoken of, they are not limited to “civilians” and can happen “under the protection” of the police, who have the duty to serve and protect these people. However in most cases this is far from true. For example, a woman in 1972 a woman was raped by drunken police officers while in their custody. This case helped start protests by women in India with support from both male and female experts to demand changes in the government. The latest data from India’s National Crime Record Bureau show around 100 alleged attacks are reported to police each day, or nearly 39,000 in 2016 — a 12% increase from the previous year

Most recently, a young girl aged 16 was kidnapped, taken to a Hindu temple, imprisoned and held captive while she was repeatedly raped by a number of men, one of whom was an elected official. Eight men have been arrested and the outrage is mounting in India over this case. Last week in April of 2018, thousands of women protested in several major Indian cities. Swati Maliwal, chairwoman of the Delhi Women’s Commission (NWC), is staging an indefinite hunger strike to push for stricter laws for rape in India, including the death penalty. It is important for all of us to support the women of India in this fight against rape and all forms of violence against women.

Savannah Bynum studied at Catawba valley community college, and is now completing an anthropology major with a minor in art history at East Carolina University.

 

 

Southern Africa’s Contraceptive Control

Abigail Detwiller

Puberty is a crucial step as girls prepare for the decisions and responsibilities of sexuality and reproduction.

Faridah Nalubega, a 26 year-old woman intended to have just two or three children, the most she felt she could afford by selling fried fish in Kampala, Uganda, according to PAI, a U.S.-based family-planning advocacy group. But she ended up with six children—in large part, she told PAI, because her husband forbade her to use contraceptive pills and her local family-planning clinic offered no suitable alternative. In this area of Uganda, men often become violent with their partners who show an interest in using contraception.

Two barriers that limit the access to and use of contraceptives is southern Africa are the myths and misconceptions of young people, and the attitudes of adults in these communities. If these can change then the use of contraceptives will increase and the number of unwanted pregnancies will decrease. The first step would be to expand the learning and accessibility of information on the many different methods of contraceptives. The young people need to understand that the myths and misconceptions that they are taught by their peers and adults are incorrect and hold no scientific grounds. If they could meet others who use contraception and ask questions it could be a very good experience for the youth, and for the adults who have the misconceptions. It is one thing to be able to reach the youth, but if you do not change the view ofthe adults have then all the work you did can be easily reversed because of the place they hold in their society over the younger generations. After being able to teach and give more factual based information on contraception they would need to focus more of their time focused on the older generation. If the older generation views contraceptives as bad and refuse to provide the youth with them then all the work teaching the youths would be of no use. The youth would not be able to get the contraceptives so their knowledge would be no help because without contraception’s no matter what they try it will be unsuccessful. Young people are seen by societies around the world as needing to be guided by the older generations to make sure they are not making immature decisions. Though sometimes the problem stems from the older generations decisions that are being forced upon the youth.

In South Africa the traditional view against contraceptive use is held by the men, so if a man does not want his wife on contraceptives then she cannot unless she hides it. Engelman writes that “unfortunately, helping women plan their families stealthily—by using contraceptive injections, for example—is a leading strategy because many male partners believe childbearing decisions are theirs alone to make. Men also tend to want one to three more children than women do, not surprising given who gets pregnant, gives birth and handles most of the child care.” Traditional values are taught to the next generation through multiple ways, but some traditional values are oppressive towards others and should not be implemented. If these traditions are stopped it does not mean that it is lost the tradition will be a part of the people’s history, and generations will be taught why they changed, and how it has helped the people grow. Just because people no longer apply that tradition does not mean they have lost who they are it just means there might have been a healthier way for them to celebrate.

When introducing new ideas and concepts some people can create myths and misconceptions about the information and make it so that the general population is against something without learning all the facts. Most youth are uneducated in the correct procedures, heavily influenced and trusting of their peer members, and so believe false information easily because of misplaced trust. In a study, Ochaco et al. found that “Many fears were based on myths and misconceptions. Young women learn about both true side effects and myths from their social networks” Most myths and misconceptions that were taught to the young girls is that if the use any contraception they will not be able to have children later. By creating these myths and misconceptions many girls are then later pressured to get rid of pregnancies that come from not being able to use contraception’s. To combat the myths and misconception education for both males and females is important. By continuing to go to school both genders will be able to learn the importance of contraception and how big of a role they all play. Though, at the moment, since South Africa is a patriarchal society, females are not seen as important enough to continue their education most of the time passed elementary level.

It is important to teach the younger generations because without access to contraceptives, unwanted pregnancies increase.. Hoopes et al. report that “Approximately one-quarter of women aged 15–19 years in South Africa report having been pregnant. Although teen fertility has mirrored a decline in fertility among all women in South Africa, South African teens experience a birth rate of 54 per 1,000 women aged 15–19 years, twice that of teens in the United States.”

Though Africa has been more progressive in their abortion laws such as, “…nurses and midwives are trained and permitted to perform abortions, paving the road for accessible abortions at conveniently located facilities” (“Common Reproductive Health Concerns in Anglophone Africa.”), many girls have resort to extreme measures to get rid of unwanted pregnancies aborted because of the limited number of professionals.

If men and women are not taught the true information pertaining to contraceptives they will continue to have problems. Traditional values can still be part of who the people are but will just not be implemented. Women deserve the same education opportunities as men. By having these options available the knowledge about birth control will be more widely available and not seen as something bad, instead a positive.

Abigail Detwiller has an associate’s in Science and attends East Carolina University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. After graduation she plans to enroll into a Dental Hygienist program to obtain her license and work in the dental field helping others.

Barriers Facing Women Running for Public Office and The Impact of Gender Quotas

Ellie Waibel

            Women make up about half of the world’s population, yet only make up about 23% of political participation globally. All over the world, the voices of women are being shut out and systematically ignored. In order to be an advocate for voiceless populations, we desperately need women in politics. However, this is more difficult to achieve than it sounds. Worldwide, women are being actively excluded from participation in government through social, institutional, and psychological barriers.

Globally, there is a perception of women as being irrational, emotional, and overall dependent on men. Societal norms push women to be homemakers who are dedicated to cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. Even when women are encouraged to have careers, it is typically in the education, social welfare, or other “feminine” sectors. When women decide to pursue careers in public office, they are often viewed as neglecting their families and motherly duties. Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s prime minister in the early 1990’s, had to keep her pregnancy a secret in order to keep her political opponents from using it against her. In order to give women a voice in politics, we must end the notion that women are selfish for wanting to pursue a career in public office.

The structural features of political life tend to exclude women from seeking and obtaining positions. Political parties want to present the candidate they believe will maximize its vote, which means they will more often than not choose men. Political parties seek individuals who already have visibility in the community through one’s career, leadership positions, or political roles. Considering community leaders and those typically in leadership positions are disproportionately male, women are put at an even further disadvantage. When women do run for political office, they are often times plagued with intimidation tactics from males. In some countries, women face physical violence for running. According to UN Women 2013, in Pakistan and Nepal, not only are women running for public office subject to physical and verbal abuse, but they also must worry about threats of abduction and murder. In Kenya, candidates running for office often carried concealed knives. They would also wear two pairs of tights under their dresses in order to buy more time in case of an attempted rape. Often times, these women are denied protection by police and law enforcement.

Thanks to a newer trend in politics, gender quotas, more women are finally getting the chance to make a change in politics. More than half of the countries in the world now use gender quotas to assist women in obtaining political positions. The three main categories of gender quotas are: reserved seat, electoral candidate, and political part quotas. Each of them intervene at a distinct point in the electoral process.  Reserved seat quotas have the potential to guarantee women’s representation by ensuring that female candidates will get a minimum number of parliamentary seats. Electoral candidate quotas are implemented by requiring that a certain percentage of candidates on electoral lists are women. Political party quotas reserve a certain percentage of the seats they win to women.

Although gender quotas are an effective way to guarantee women’s participation in politics, not all women have an equal advantage. In the United States, the majority of women political leaders are white. Black and Hispanic women are rarely encouraged to run for political office. In fact, these women are actively discouraged from running. Because minority women are victims of both racism and sexism, they have access to even fewer resources to run for office. This is also true for LGBTQ populations, who do not even have equal rights in every country. On a global scale, gender quotas are viewed negatively by many. Some people believe that female politicians elected through gender quotas will face hostility because they were elected based on gender, not qualifications. They claim that this backlash will make it difficult for female politicians to be given positions of leadership within parties, and might even make it difficult when it comes to passing legislation.

Putting gender quotas in place is only the start to ensuring the participation of women in politics. America, and virtually every other country, still has a long way to go. Social barriers are present in nearly every country, through the general view of women as inferiorand less qualified than men. Until women are seen as more than just homemakers, there will be a struggle with political representation. Political parties must embrace and protect female candidates, as well as local government and law enforcement. We must encourage the young women of our generation to pursue political careers and change history.

Ellie Waibel is currently a junior at East Carolina University, majoring in Social Work, and minoring in Ethnic Studies. After she graduates with her MSW, she hopes to work with foster children.

 

New York Times editorial on the Equal Rights Amendment

We marched for this in the 70s and 80s. North Carolina was 1 of 3 potential states to ratify it. Memory tells me that it lost by one vote in the General Assembly. Do you think it would have a chance in today’s NC GA? One of the commenters asks whether the language needs to be updated to remove the assumption of a gender binary. What do you think? Here is the text:

 

The Equal Rights Amendment

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification

Lack of Access to Feminine Hygiene Products: A Global Issue for Women

                       Rosalinda Kowalczewski       

            Imagine that time of month coming around, but you do not have any hygiene products to use. Females across the world are shunned and stigmatized about a monthly visit that they cannot control. Imagine young girls budding into puberty who are afraid to go school due to embarrassment. The 250 million girls lacking access to safe menstrual products and the hygienic tools necessary to manage their periods are at risk of losing their futures. Not being able to afford these items should not hinder their ability to study or make a living. Most of us living in Western cultures can go out and easily buy needed products, but in other parts of the world, these products are simply not available or are priced to high to be affordable to any but the rich. This leads many girls to rely on dirty rags or old newspapers which is not sanitary.

In many countries around the world, sanitary items are seen as “luxury items” and not as necessities. For example, girls cannot easily obtain feminine products in the African country of Uganda. Paul Montgomery, a professor at Oxford University, decided to bring reusable pads and feminine education to Uganda to see which would cause a bigger impact in the area. The reusable pads were called AFRIpads. According to Crofts, these were made from polycotton blend fabric and impermeable materials, and because their manufacture does not rely on electricity, workshops could be located in rural settings. An Afripads menstrual kit is designed to last for a year. Montgomery took more than 1,100 girls from ages 10 to 13 in rural Uganda from eight different schools and divided them into groups. Over the next two years the attendance rate of these girls was followed. School attendance improved for the girls who had received pads or education or both while a drop in attendance was recorded for those who received neither. Montgomery concluded that that having access to feminine products does cause a positive change in girls’ lives. Accessible hygien products can be the difference between getting an education and being homebound.

A lack of access to menstrual products is also an issue for some women in the US, particularly the homelss and those in prison. Some shelters do not provide products due to cost or lack of donations. These homeless women, who lack resources, risk infection and health problems. Another American demographic of women with limited access is prisoners. Fettig, for example, reports that for too many incarcerated women, a basic human function has been turned into a monthly violation of basic human rights. In many prisons women are coded for being out of dress and this includes stains. Without products they bleed onto their clothes. When they get punished for these marks they may lose privileges to buy at the commissary, which is where they buy feminine products. This is unfair to many. These different situations are some of the ones menstruating women in America face. They lack the means to get the products they need and suffer from it.

It may seem like this problem is too complicated to solve, but there are some simple steps anyone can take to help. For example, L Menstrual Products,, founded by Talia Frenkel, a photojournalist who worked for the Red Cross and UN, donates a pack of pads to developing nations for every pack purchased by a customer. Their program has grown and spread into stores across the country; they have also included condoms. The organization Freedom4Girls (https://freedom4girls.wordpress.com) provides products and education for girls in Kenya. Alternatively, PATH-Sanitary Pads (http://www.path.org/projects/sanitary-pads.php) is working to develop new, lower cost hygiene products made from local materials.

There are also feminine product outreaches in America that help the homeless. Fulfilling Destiny (https://www.fulfillingdestiny.org) is an outreach in San Diego, California, that takes donations and volunteers to help the homeless in America. Another way to help girls in school in America is through Helping Women Period (https://www.helpingwomenperiod.org ). They are an organization who also takes donations to help girls in Michigan by providing pads at school.

While you may not be able to solve this problem, you can make a difference in a girl’s life by donating to these groups. Think about the difference it would make if each month you purchased a pack of pads so that another girls in some far off country could get one too.

Rosalinda Kowalczewski has an associates in Arts and attends East Carolina University achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with interest in Psychology. She hopes to explore the rest of the world in the future and the cultures it holds.

 

How One Girl and a Bicycle are Promoting Women’s Autonomy in Saudi Arabia

 Review of the film, Wadjda, by Haifaa al-Mansour

Lizz Grimsley

Ten-year old Saudi girl, Wadjda, is best friends with a boy, wears blue jeans and sneakers under her abaya, and longs for a bike. She is the subject of strikingly different kind of film about Saudi women, written and directed by Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, Haifaa al-Mansour. This film illustrates the influential role of the media on social institutions and the ways that it can impact how people view the world and think about their cultures.

Saudi Arabia is known for a strict interpretation of Sharia law that oppresses women by denying them the same freedoms and rights as men. As a result, Saudi women have had difficulty breaking out of the restrictive walls built around them. However, Haifaa al-Mansour, shows how the media is capable of challenging oppressive gender roles. It follows the story of a young girl who is interested in purchasing a bicycle that she has seen at a store in her town. Though she is faced with criticism from her family and peers, it does not deter Wadjda from finding ways to save money to purchase the bike. We are also shown an interesting friendship dynamic between her and Abdullah, a young neighbor boy with whom she spends a great amount of time with throughout the movie. As the film progresses, she navigates though her relationships with authority figures in her attempt to understand the world around her. As a result, Wadjda is placed in many situations that alert her to the roles and behaviors traditional Saudi culture views as appropriate for women and girls.

Saudi women have been oppressed by legislation that has denied them the same freedoms and rights as men. This form of systematic oppression has also been responsible for the harsh gender roles and the general mistreatment of women. As a result, Saudi women have little autonomy over themselves or their family units. However, the tides appear to be turning. Windsor reports that In September of 2017, women in the kingdom were finally granted the right drive, and in March of 2018, women who have been divorced were given the right to retain custody of their children without needing to file a lawsuit. But these changes alone are not enough in the fight for equality.

To show audiences the true nature of oppression that exists in Saudi Arabia, al-Mansour uses symbolism throughout the film. One example of this, according to al-Mansour herself, is the bicycle: it is an object that is meant to represent freedom. It is the freedom of adulthood and the freedom of women as separate beings from their male guardians. Thus, Wadjda’s attempts to purchase the bicycle are attempts to gain freedom and control within her own life. By creating an ending where Wadjda owns the bicycle, al-Mansour leaves the audience with a message of hope that things can change for women in Saudi Arabia. Though this is only one interpretation of the film, it has seemed to have a positive impact on the Saudi people. Nikki Baughan quoted al-Mansour in her article, The Reel World, saying “I have a lot of positive feedback from young Saudi women; it means so much to me when they say how much they loved and related to the film.”

As a Saudi woman, al-Mansour had the best knowledge on how to approach the issue of promoting women’s rights. She stated in an interview with Nikki Baughan, “If you try to be confrontational or scream at them about how stupid you think they are, you aren’t going to get through to them. You have to be respectful of the world they come from and present your ideas through that prism.” She said that she wanted her film to reach the average Saudi person, and she knew that she would have to organize her methods in a way that would not deter them. Al-Mansour emphasizes the importance of approaching this social issue with caution instead of as an outsider. Her identity was beneficial in that it allowed Saudi people to trust her and the message she was trying to portray in her film.

Thankfully, her hard work has paid off. Saudi women flocked to watch the film upon its release in 2012 by traveling outside the country. Al-Mansour’s sisters thought the film was “authentic” in the way it depicted the average life in Saudi Arabia. If the goal of the film was to change the perceptions of women and break away from traditional views of women, then Wadjda did just that. As the world inevitably progresses, so do countries like Saudi Arabia. Through social media and educational programs that send their citizens abroad, Saudi people have the opportunity to witness other cultures on a global scale. These interactions will inevitably cause ripples that will disrupt the traditional views imbedded in Saudi cultural practices. Women are being represented in government, legislation is changing, women are being represented in films that point out the flaws of their society. Change may come slowly and with resistance, but with people like al-Mansour advocating for women and girls, their voices are being given a platform that they have never had before.

 

Lizz Grimsley is a senior at ECU majoring in Sociology and minoring in Anthropology. She plans on graduating in May and has hopes to join the Peace Corps shortly afterwards. She is particularly interested in social issues and understanding how different media sources influence social norms and beliefs surrounding marginalized groups of people.

Op-Ed: A Call to Authenticity: The Plight of Transgender Refugees

Evander Jennings  

Picture this: You are looking out upon a scorched desert, humming the song your mother used to sing you to at night when you couldn’t sleep. As you hum this tune you realize there are many more sleepless nights ahead. You remember last night, like so many others. The memories flood back as you dab at the swollen eye you received from the men who beat and raped you, again. This is what you were running from; where you come from, people who are different, people like you, are better off being dead in most cases. Because you break down the barriers between man and woman, like your mother’s song, firm and unbreakable, yet soft and sweet. Because you are this other, Transgender, you were told to kill yourself or risk being killed by those you thought you could trust. Continuing on your journey you travel by foot across an endless desert to a neighboring country. The country of endless possibility, prosperity and most of all, safety. But sadly, this is only the beginning of your journey.

Transgender men and women already face impossible odds. They must steel themselves against wave after wave of hate, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, poverty, sickness, harassment and discrimination. They face a world that has no love for them, yet they cling to authenticity like a prayer. Transgender individuals in several countries across the globe are faced with the threat of death simply because they are living as their authentic and true selves. These individuals are unwelcomed within their home countries and in some vehemently criminalized, simply for trying to live as they are; as men and women. By increasing our knowledge about the issues transgender refugees face and trying to adjust the broken systems and laws that do this harm, we can play an active role in saving the lives of thousands of people coming into our country.

Transgender asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees all share a common and pronounced threat to their wellbeing, mental, and physical health. Not only are they subjected to inhumane treatment when being processed into the country, once allowed in they are subjected to horrors such as forced sterilization. Transgender refugees are detained for months and sometimes years at a time, as stated by the International Detention Coalition. Harassment, rape, and physical violence run rampant in the detention centers whilst they await processing into the country. They are often housed with those of their birth gender meaning for example, trans-women are housed with men, leading to sexual harassment and often physical abuse. There is often abuse from officers that are supposed to protect refugees into the country as well. One account from a woman named Tania Cordova from Michoacacan, Mexico stated:

“They didn’t have no place to house me, and they decided that if I wanted to be in general population, I was going to be housed with males,” she said. “I remember one day I went back to detention, and there was a female officer there who was supposed to search us, but not see us without clothes. She wanted to see what a transgender looks like.”

The way the system is as of now, the government is more willing to repatriate or relocate individuals back to their home countries than to allow them entrance into the country. Senior Director for Programs at the Women’s Refugee Commission Dale Buscher explains that many LGBT persons are relocated instead of gaining the asylum though there are “76 United Nations (UN) Member States criminalize same-sex acts among consenting adults and seven of those states (Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and parts of Somalia and Nigeria) maintain the death penalty for consensual homosexual acts.” In short this means there are potentially thousands of lives that have been lost due to repatriation, and relocation because authorities are not taking the possibility they are LGBT into consideration.

LGBT individuals that could potentially seek asylum are usually too frightened to reveal their identity due to fear of being turned away or discriminated against by officials. If asylum seekers are interviewed in a group setting, and it seems this is common, they may hide their identities due to this mixture of shame and fear. As Buscher states; “LGBT refugees risk having their claim denied if they are not able to speak openly about their sexual identity, how they were treated in their home countries based on that identity, and how it led to their flight.”. The fear that is a constant in the lives of these individuals doesn’t go away with leaving their hometown or village. Transgender people especially tend to be noticeably LGBT and yet are still turned away or repatriated back to their home countries. There seems to be a shift in blame towards the asylum seekers because of them hiding their identity, however this is an issue that needs to be addressed by those with the power to help instead of victim blaming.

These populations are overlooked and not taken care of in a proper way that shows them any human decency or respect. Until we change the way or immigration systems are set up and operated, more lives are going to be lost and shattered. We need to put legislators into office that don’t overlook or demean Refugees and asylum seekers coming into the United States. They are fleeing their oppressive countries to try live safely in the arms of this great nation and we are turning a blind eye to a people in need. They are being murdered, prosecuted, beaten, and raped because they are a little different from the norm. They are autonomous, emotional, human beings, simply because they look differently, sound differently, dress differently does not negate the fact they deserve basic human rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 

Evander Jennings is an Anthropology and International Studies double major with a focus in global diversity. Upon graduation he hopes to either work internationally, or on the home front to provide safety, aid, and support for those within minority groups.

 

 

Op-Ed 2

Man-hating, unhappy, husbandless, lesbian, ugly, angry—feminists. The misconceptions about feminism are boundless, including the stereotype that only women can be feminists. It is this rhetoric towards feminism that blinds people from seeing the true purpose and meaning: “a man or a woman who says yes there is a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it, we must do better.” This definition of feminism comes from a Ted Talk in which Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about being a feminist from the perspective of a Nigerian woman.

The battle for gender equality has raged on for a long time now and while we have made good strides, true equality is the goal for feminists. But this equality derives heavily from the equal power of choice and respect, not necessarily that women want to be men. When I do not like to do something that is able to be labeled as “masculine,” I am frequently prompted with the question: “well, don’t you want to be equal?” Certainly, I do want to be equal, but that does not mean that we as people must be equal in all tastes, interests and preferences. This is where I believe that much of the confusion around the meaning of feminism derives from. There is a broad assumption and correlation that our society makes for anyone that attempts to give themselves a label. There is no limit to the labels that are reduced to stereotypes and these labels range in political ideology, sexual orientation, gender, race, or religion. No one is safe from societies judgements.

It is through these stereotypes that society has heavily begun to turn on one another. More importantly, it is through our technologically connected world that people have been able to gain a new perspective of society. Through technology, people have been able to connect and learn that they are not limited to the narrow perspectives of their home town. While this has caused many positives, it has also caused just as many negatives. Also, because it is those with the most extreme opinions that make their voices heard on media, those with more moderate inputs see everyone as having those extreme stereotypes. While this may not be the cause of all of the aforementioned problems, it is certainly one of the largest. Even further, new advances on social media goes as far as to only show people what they think that they will want to see, further limiting their perspectives.

Focusing on feminism, gender and perceived gender roles affect everyday life for each and every person in this world. Our society’s gender roles are so longstanding and deep-rooted within society that they have influence on just about anything that you can think of. A common misconception is that, because some women do not believe that women as a whole can or should be equal to men, that they would know best. I argue that these perceptions are largely because of these deep-rooted perceptions that women are not capable, so much so that women believe it themselves.

In the Ted Talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie depicts her experience as a feminist woman in Nigeria. One of her biggest conflicts is trying to portray herself positively as a feminist. She found herself constantly having to defend herself against different stereotypes about feminism which ultimately is drawing away from the main issue: gender equality. The struggle for feminists is to bring the focus to the issue that they are passionate about—equality between the genders. Instead, they are fighting a battle to eliminate the stereotypes and negativity associated with the label of feminist. You should be able to proudly proclaim yourself as a feminist no matter your gender, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc. because women make up half of the population and are capable of making contributions to society equally to men, which calls for them to have equal benefits and representation. Once people start focusing on the positives rather than negatives, I know we will see a significant difference in society moral.

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