We’ve overseen over the past century, with improving pay equity and big improvements in terms of protection from rape, domestic abuse protection and harassment rates. And, of course, we’ve made progress in the last decade, too. Since 2010 alone, the number of rapes going unreported has reached a new low; down 20,000. And with thanks to improving societal attitudes, we can still improve.
However, despite these promising figures, there is still need for change. We still face scourges in our society such as FGM, online harassment and unequal representation in the fields that matter most. We may not witness the rampant misogyny of decades gone by – however, a healthy streak of it still remains in our society. Today, it is continued male dominance that provides the greatest barrier to equality. This means that not only do women fall back in society, however they start from the back.
Today in Britain, 1 in 3 women claim to have suffered either rape or sexual harassment of some nature. In Britain, rape victims are 3 times more likely to suffer from serious mental health issues such as anxiety, depression or PTSD. In Britain, women make up a higher percentage of secretarial jobs than they do in terms of female MPs or peers. These problems – they have been years in the making, they won’t disappear overnight. But I know it doesn’t have to be like this, and we can make a substantial, lasting change. Today, I will set the agenda for how our society should tackle gender inequality once and for all.
In order to make the substantial change I refer to, we must liberate ourselves from all of this archaic, outdated thinking about gender capabilities. And hopefully I’m successful in explaining how we ought to seek to achieve the goals we have set in place. The old-school view of gender roles – which I refer to as archaic attitudes – still dominates debate in this nation. We have confined ourselves to these outdated dominating ideas that have historically defined the debate.
These ideas come under the traditionalist view – created on the foundations of a historically patriarchal society which seeks. I am fully against traditionalism. I’m the creator and the innovative mind behind the MenforWomen campaign – perhaps the most widespread forum for male feminists there is. I cannot support the idea of adopting historically-normal gender roles in the modern day.
I believe in the idea of opportunity being for all, and building on another aspect of the social reforms made after World War Two. We know too that these views are problematic, and in the light of female achievement, have been rendered incompatible with the modern world. In short, it was built around a patronising view that women have already found their place as the homemakers, instead of living up to their immense potential. My approach is a more progressive approach – the idea that when women succeed, we all succeed. I believe that progressivism has been, by far, the best ideology ever invented for enhancing equality and improving living standards. I believe that the active use of the state in order to try and encourage enhanced social attitudes has, in fact, helped women exponentially.
But some women still get left behind, even as social attitudes change our efforts to help take a new form. They still live in a situation which denies them the chance to reach their full potential – and the rift between those who have grown up around misogyny and those who grow up in more accepting societies is growing. I don’t believe that entitlement is the way forward – I think that only serves as a short term solution and absolutely must not be something to aspire to. But we have to recognise that wanting change alone is not enough – if we want to truly make a difference – we’ve got to go out and fight for that change. I can see now that our movement must intensify in terms of its activism and campaigning around the world, not just in Britain. And we need to understand precisely why.
The two different types of societies have one thing in common. They both recognise that misogyny is still to an extent prevalent, no matter where you are. They suffer to different levels, however. This means that our movement must rely on changing the way in which we address problems to be more policy specific depending on the region.
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