In 2016, the Global Gender Gap Report revealed that women were earning 55% of what men earned on average. In 2017, the same report showed women earning $12,000 annually, compared with $21,000 for men (that’s 57%). This small increase in the gender gap was the first movement in the wrong direction since 2006, when The World Economic Forum first began measuring it. In fact, at our current rate of progress, we will have to wait 217 years for gender parity.
International Women’s Day is not just about recognizing economic disparity. It’s also about celebrating the social, cultural, and political achievements made by women. There are many ways to push for gender parity as individuals. Fittingly, this year’s International Women’s Day theme is #PressforProgress. Here at Ashley Chloe, we decided to get the ball rolling by asking our friends and families to fill out a survey that would celebrate women’s achievements, challenge stereotypes and biases, and forge positive visibility for women.
Check out some of the responses below:
Celebrating Women Role Models and Their Journeys
What woman inspires you and why?
- My grandma. She never lets anything get in her way of success.
- My mom! She is the epitome of hardworking and selfless. She always knows exactly what to say to help me out anytime I need it
- Hatshepsut - Because she was an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh (Queen) who ruled Egypt during a time that women were looked upon as material objects instead of as human individuals. She also built a marvelous temple that was more beautiful than any Pharaoh's tomb before her.
Challenging Stereotypes and Biases
Are there any assumptions about women that you would like to change? Why?
- Women are over-sexualized in the current day and age. Also, when a girl says no, she means NO. That surely needs to be conveyed.
- That women are the weaker species, when in comparison, women are stronger mentally and emotionally.
- We tend to assume women are emotional and that's what makes us weak. But I believe it's important to fully experience and express a wide range of emotions. That's what makes us so resilient and so strong in the face of adversity and challenge, fighting harder to exceed expectations to be able to compete with men in our society.
Call-Out Inappropriate Behavior
Was there anything that happened growing up that you can now see was unfair?
- Women not always being able to make the choice for abortions or have the option of free birth control.
- I remember my middle school guidance counselor telling me, "it's ok if you are bad in math, it's easier for boys." The most bizarre part of it all is that she was a woman!
- In school I was labeled as a C student. It didn't matter how hard I tried or what I did, I couldn't change it. I even took my brothers history report he did three years earlier that was an A+ and turned it in and got a C.
- Being a female minority growing up in a low-income household, I always felt different from everyone else. As a girl, I felt I had to stay quiet in class and not cause trouble. I rarely raised my hand to answer questions and I just let all the boys do the talking because they sounded so confident. I think we should teach our girls to speak their mind, because we're just as smart and capable as the boys are.
Forge Positive Visibility of Women
How you feel about how women are represented in the media, film and pop culture?
- Woman are definitely not taken as seriously as a sports analysis in the media and community because just the simple fact that we are women. We can know just as much about any sport as any man does. And also, everyone always comments on what a woman is wearing in the media and pop culture and if she looks good in it... not about the facts that she reported on. No one ever comments on a man’s suit or if his pants were too tight.
- Women celebrities have also been part of the #MeToo movement. I definitely think that's an indicator of what's really going behind the scenes in Hollywood. We already know that women have to fight just to make the same amount as a man.
- Women are represented as emotional and untrustworthy. It saddens me that when a woman decided to wait a number of years to speak her truth about an assault that happened years ago, she is labeled a liar or a gold digger. What is really at fault is that women haven't felt secure or trusting enough to come forward earlier because the world would have (and still does) blame them for something that was completely out of their control.
- Limited opportunities for women of color to be represented in a non-stereotypical role.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
- Be true to yourself and stand up for injustices not only on yourself but to everyone who has not found their own voice.
- Be who you want to be and don't let society tell you what you ought to be.
- I would tell my younger self to focus on creating work instead of consuming media and pop culture. Instead of comparing myself to these impossible standards of beauty, I should focus on my talents and skills to be someone irreplaceable. I would be my own standard of beauty and create my own sense of self-worth from my accomplishments.
My advice? Lift other women up, instead of tearing each other down. Don't let someone tell you that you can or can't do something because of your gender. Be a positive role model for younger generations of women. Acknowledge your biases and prejudices (because we all have them, whether we'd like to admit it or not) and work to try and change those. Use the hashtag #PressforProgress to join this year's conversation. Let us know your thoughts below! What are you going to do this year to fight for gender equality?