Hello there!

As some of you might know, I am a very independent person and I like to do everything myself. As a woman in this world it is not always easy to do what you want. I realize that more and more as I am getting older. A lot of times when I try to make people aware of the inequality, they will either misunderstand me or they do not even listen. So, I thought it would be a good idea to answer some questions regarding feminism, because I am a feminist.

What does feminism mean to me?

I think feminism means something different to different people. Of course the general definition is the same; women should be treated the same way as men. To me feminism means that everybody needs to be treated the same and should be given the same opportunities. I am young and at the beginning of my adult-life and I want to be treated the same as men when I start my career. I do not only want women to be equal to men, but men should also be equal to women. Men and women should be able to pursue whatever career they want to without being frowned upon and they should have the same opportunities in their career and in life in general.

Why am I a feminist?

I always thought that women were equal to men when I was younger. It never crossed my mind that I would be treated differently because I am a woman. That changed last year, when I got my first job as a sales assistant at one of the largest hardware stores in The Netherlands. I sold tools, installation equipment, faucets, showers and things like that. In the beginning I had to learn a lot to be able to inform customers right, but it really did not matter, because men and women were almost always questioning me. Sometimes I would see them talking with a male colleague about the same thing I had just explained to them.

Working there really changed my view and I became aware that I am treated differently because of my gender. I was shocked and angry, because it is completely wrong. Why should men be taken more seriously than women in the hardware industry? I was never planning to pursue a career in this field, but I should be able to, if I wanted. This experience really opened my eyes. I want men and women to be treated the same no matter what their field of expertise is. It should not be weird for women to work with tools or for men to work in fashion, but that is not the reality right now.

Do we still need feminists?

When the first feminist fought for the right to vote all those years ago, they paved the way for not only women but also other disadvantaged people or minorities, like blacks, Latinas and members of the LGBTQ+ community. I can see that we have come a long way in the past 100 years – women can vote and go to school and same-sex marriages are legal in many Western countries – but we are not there yet. We still have a long way to go. Women are still not payed the same as men. In some states in the United States women have to pay luxury tax on menstrual products – the so-called “tampon tax”. Black people and Latinas are still discriminated against. In too many countries gays and lesbians are prosecuted. So, even though we are a lot further than we were a hundred years ago, there still is a lot of work to do.

What should the future look like?

When you are fighting for something, it is important to have a goal. Feminism has a goal too – equality. I think it is realistic to work towards a future where discriminations against women and other minorities is something of the past. I do not know if it is realistic to want a 50/50 ratio between men and women in every work field, but there definitely has to be more equality than there is now. In the future men and women should have the same opportunities and should be payed the same when they are doing the same work.

One thing that I think is very important for a more equal future is that a woman should not have to give up her career if she wants to have family. Men should not assume that they are the ones who need provide for their family, because women should be given the choice to pursue their careers as well. I am not saying that men should give up their careers if they want a family. I am saying that men and women need to be able to talk about it and nobody should assume it is automatically the mother who is going to work less or become a stay-at-home mom.

I hope that this has made you think about feminism. I am not trying to convince you of my ideas, but I do hope that I made you think about this topic. Start a conversation about feminism or inequality with you friends and/or family. Stay open-minded and listen to what other people have to say. There are still so many rights to fight for. We are not done yet!

Take care!

Merel