When I was growing up, occasionally my sister and I would be given a delicious cakey treat to share. To stop squabbling, Mum had a simple rule: “One cuts, the other chooses.”. Basically, the person who didn’t get to cut the cake in two got to pick their preferred piece. To this day, I can split something in half with millimetre precision, even if it’s not symmetrical. It didn’t stop there: pocket money was proportional to age, whilst whoever got to sit in the front of the car on ‘the way there’ had to sit in the back seat on the way home. On the surface they were simple parental rules. But what they did was instil in to me a sense of complete equality.
As I grew-up, I took for granted things such as going to school and, eventually, being able to vote; To be honest, why shouldn’t I have? But, what I wasn’t aware of until I was older, was the unfairness women had endured for so many years; The years of fighting, protesting and sexist treatment, suffered in order for me and all other women to have the rights to which we are justly entitled.
The in-equality between men and women still exists today and being in the industry I am in, I regularly read articles about the lack of women in the I.T. industry. I always try to read them when I can and I have a rather long list archived on my Instapaper; The intention was to make reference to them in a blog post, but I wasn’t even sure where to start. I have been trying to work out what ‘feminism’ means to me in the modern day, but none of these articles helped to reach a clear conclusion. So many suggestions banded around, for I.T. anyway, which verge on positive discrimination; That is a concept that I never agree with.
“No-one – ideally in private but especially in public – should declare themselves not a feminist. Particularly as, unless you are someone who is actively refusing or campaigning against women having the right to work, vote, not be beaten or forced into sex by your husband or anyone else, or to earn the same amount of money as a man, YOU ARE A FEMINIST. You like someone paying you small compliments and courtesies or looking after you? That’s not anti-feminist. That’s human. Men like it too. That’s why they spent so many happy centuries getting wives, servants and minions at work to do it for them.”
Feminism isn’t a special way of behaving. It’s not expecting special rights or special treatments. It’s not being given opportunities for simply being a women, rather opportunities being earned based on skills and hard work. Ultimately it goes back to the simple lesson my Mum taught my sister and I as children, that things should be fair and equal.