I feel like history is made up with women who have had to prove themselves by facing the most ridiculous persecution. So it’s not surprising that in a historic move, Hillary Clinton is the first ever woman running for President against what is inarguably the most patronising, sexist, ignorant and frustratingly narrow-minded candidate to run for President. Ever. We women may have to consistently throw up our hands in indignation, but in fairness, idiocy seems to be a battle everyone is facing these days.
Interestingly enough, the American Elections come around the same time of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. These goals were recently established by international leaders in September 2015 (in hand with Unicef) as a world-wide initiative to abolish and fight inequality, poverty and climate change. The way I see it, it’s a way for multiple movements and organisations, such as Unicef, HeForShe and Comic Relief and Global Partner for Education etc, along with regular people with convictions like you and me, to come together to fight these 3 major world problems.
I pledge to support Gender Equality, Goal 5 of the Global Goals.
I was introduced to the Global Goals when I saw the #WhatIReallyReallyWant challenge, which used the Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ music video as an anthem. It’s went viral on social media. What I love about this approach is that it’s stirring, moving, impacting – and yet it’s fun and engaging without being preachy or serious. It’s difficult to argue with and it makes you want to get up and join the cause:
I had a brainstorm to think about what I wanted to be seen achieved within the Gender Equality umbrella. The end to domestic violence? The end of gender stereotyping? The end of victim blaming and slut shaming? See equal representation in governments and the church? The last one is what I find particularly interesting, as clergy are exempt from sexual discrimination laws, based on (sometimes wishy-washy) beliefs within the faith. You’ll be surprised how many religions do allow the ordaining of women – but until I see a female Pope (ha!), I’m not convinced it’s fully accepted.
#WhatIReallyReallyWant, amongst many things, is to see the end of gender discrimination – particularly within the leadership of the large, controlled organisations. Governments. The Church. Places which have been dominantly led by men for the course of history simply because the laws (written assumedly by men, probably with consideration of the role women play in child rearing) obstructed any chance for women to lead. (I’d like to mention here that Monarchies with Queens as Rulers/Heads of State are a counter argument – women only led by course of birth when a male sibling wasn’t in the picture. Although most Monarchies aren’t governing anymore so this is irrelevant). When Hillary Clinton makes history by being the first female nomination for President, but the headlines have her husband on the front page, or when the opposition party sells disgustingly unprofessional and sexist merchandise, you know sexism is still loud, and (specific classes of) people are still pining for the days where women were expected to look pretty and keep quiet. But specifically, why is gender equality in leadership so important? Well, these bodies of governments and religions and corporations are speaking for large amounts of people, and you can’t expect one gender to be consistently speaking for the other. It’s the same with race, it’s the same with political parties. There needs to be balance of focus and priorities. I’m fully supportive for giving the best person the job – but if the qualifications and opportunities aren’t there for all, and if sexist ideologies that people can’t acknowledge are still rampant, how do you know they are the best?
The question is – how will it be achieved?
We have come a long long way with equality, but there is still work to be done. I haven’t got the answers. There are several steps I believe, that lead to reform and change:
- The affected people with nerve raise the issue.
- Persistence. Pressure. Protest and Persuasion. Coming together to make voices heard.
- Wider mass-reaction. Many amass in support, many reject and criticise.
- If successful, law reform.
- Denial for those who don’t agree.
- Acceptance when the dust settles.
Never mind governments, in democracy, it’s the people who make the laws. Sometimes change can take years (ie. gender equality as a whole has been taking over 100 years), but the Global Goals have a 15 year deadline, so it will be interesting to see how social media has boosted the speed in which we live and collate information and accept or make changes. What are your thoughts on the initiative? Do you think they can or will be achieved? Is social media doing more harm than good (particularly when seeing the negative influence of Trump with regards to people’s perception of what is okay to say online), and how will that affect the achievement of the Global Goals?