"The world has changed but the numbers remained stucked against us." Do you agree with this statement and with and the figures and statistics presented inthe video? Are we really equal?
The video below was part of a campaign to celebrate the International Women´s Day. Here you can learn about different important inventions made by women. Did you know anything about them?
In the video they also mention a group of pioneer women who began a worldvide movement to achieve equal rights. They were called the Suffragettes. Did you know anything about them?
As you can see this video presents a more positive image in the progress of women´s rights. What do think ? Do you agree with the data and information presented? How would you compare it with the first video?
Discuss and debate about the different ideas presented in both videos.
Yes. It´s true. Many things have changed since then! Many things have improved but everything is not as positive. Much has remained the same and so much still needs to be done. Despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues are still a problem. For example, women are often paid less than men; gender discrimination affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and sometimes they are the ones who suffer the most poverty. At the top of industry and government, the faces remain male. So how can we justify that?
The Civil Right´s movement for women started long ago. In the English-speaking world it is said that it started with MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT´S A Vindiction of the Rights of Women ( 1792). Then, in the 19th century some women became increasingly active in the quest for their own suffrage.
It was not until 1893 when women in New Zealand achieved the power to vote. Australia followed the next year and in Britain and America they didn´t achieve the national suffrage until the end of the WWI.
BUT WHO WERE THESE SUFFRAGETTES?
These group of women developed different strategies to be heard: they marched in demostrations, attended mass meetings, taught in schools, wrote critiques about how society was organized, they went on hunger strikes, etc.
They sent petitions to the Parliament to persuade the MPs to change the law to enable them to vote. In 1897 they came toghether to form the NUWSS (The National Union of Women´s Suffrage Societies).
The results about their petitions were not very positive in the beginning. The members of the Bristish Parliament deliberately talked out bills presented and they didn´t want women to vote. As a consequence the Suffragist´s actions became more violent. Emmeline Panhurst said in a speech in 1912:
"We have tried every way, but we have had contempt poured upon us. Violence is the only way that we haave to get the power that every citizen should have"Posters ridiculing the Suffragettes were made as well. Have a look at some of them. What do you think?
A conservative leader made the following speech in 1912 about women´s right to vote:
" Women don´t have the experience to be able to vote. But there are other problems as well. The way women have been educated, their lack of strength, and the duties they have. If women did gain the vote, it would mean that most voters would then be women. What would be the effect of this on the government? I agree that there are some issues upon which the votes of women might be helpful. But these ases do not cover the whole political life. What is the good of talking about equality of the sexes? The first whiz of the bullet, the first boom of the cannon and where is the equality of the sexes then?"Finally in 1918 women over 30 were allowed to vote. It too another decade to abolish the age qualification.
Taking all this into account, Do you think it is necessary to celebrate March 8th? Is everything done? The United Nations have established since 2012 the celebration in October 11th of the International Day of the Girl Child. They focus on increasing awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, gender violence, unfree child marriage. So it seems there´s still lots of things to do.
The novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie makes a new definition of feminism based on inclusion and awareness. Watch her conference in TED talks and answer the following questions.
1. Accoding to what we have read and seen in this post, in what areas do you think the world needs feminism, taking into account her ideas?
2. On the other hand, we have made important progress. Find examples in our society that have brought men and women closer to an equal position.
3. Chimamanda makes the point that the concept of gender tells us how we should behave in society and tells women how they should behave and follow certain stereotypes. Do you agree with her?
4. She says "culture does not make people, people make culture". How can this be important to change some aspects about the gender issue?
5. Make reference to some ideas or situations you have felt identified with or that you agree / disagree with in the conference.
I recommend watching the movie Suffragette. It´s a good opportunity to learn something really important about our history and about how women´s fight for thier own rights started.