25 October 2012

Yeah, I'm a feminist.

I've been to a few conferences and meetings where I mention feminism on my bio, and then people ask me why I'm a feminist. So here is at least a partial answer.

Before I go here, I refuse to bicker about definitions of feminism; if you want to have that discussion just go look it up and come back.

I could point to the formative years of my life raised by a single mom, or being surrounded by sisters or the three really smart girls who grew up next door and were my first close friends.  I could point to the brilliant, dynamic women I've been privileged to call "boss." I could point to my wife, the smartest person I've ever known. And while the experiences we've had and the people we've met certainly shape our perspective, my feminism isn't some odd mix of female bosses and daddy issues. I wasn't raised by she-wolves. I'm not enlightened, I'm not some knight in shining armor, I'm not fishing for compliments or trying to curry favor with anyone. 

I'm a feminist because I have basic, common sense. 

Feminism is great for the economy, here and around the world.  It doesn't take a genius to understand that when men and women get paid basically the same amount for the same work, a market is more efficient, transparent and stimulative.  Now that it's more "acceptable" for women to be entrepreneurs, women are currently creating small businesses at twice the rate of men - generating enormous economic benefits for all of us at a time when we desperately need it. Now that it's more "acceptable" for women to serve on corporate boards, the companies with the most women on their boards are outperforming the companies with the fewest. It's also easy to understand that when women have basic rights like property ownership in less developed countries, agricultural productivity and home welfare improve. In virtually every example, in any economy, more rights and opportunities for women mean more benefits for us all. 

I've had the opportunity to see this closely.  While I confess years ago I never expected to read as many blogs as I do in my current job, I've been amazingly fortunate to witness an explosion in women's entrepreneurship.  Yes, I'm looking at you Liz Kristen Julie Beth Rachael Emily Cooper Isabel Lisa Elisa Jordy Stefania Catherine Joanne Alana Karen Kelly Maria Leah Katherine Morra Susan Jeanne Emily Sheril Darlene Christina Carin Carmen Cecily Catherine and Maryn. Among many, many others. 

Of course, feminism is more than an economic argument.  There are just so many things women have to endure that men don't.  And here's the thing: we don't need major changes in laws to fix many of these problems.  We just have to get some men to stop acting like scumbags. 

Seriously, that's really all it would take. You don't have to completely change everything about yourself. You can do the small things that signal to the world that you're an adult.  You know, like stopping it already with the "sammich" joke.  Resisting the urge to take close up pictures of women's breasts without them knowing it, and then posting them to Reddit. Realizing that someone who shares her opinions with members of Congress or simply asks a candidate a question isn't a slut. Wondering aloud why we're hearing so much about requiring women to give birth to their rapists' babies but not a single thing about how we prevent rape in the first place. 

It's really not that hard.   It's just common sense. 

Oh, and not for nuthin' but this speech is so incredibly chock-full of awesome I can't stand it.  Seriously this is a milestone in Australian history, and an example for the rest of the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You. Are. Awesome.

That's all.