In the hard and long journey towards gender equality, it is important to look back on accomplishments and appreciate everything already achieved.
Although it is hard to be relieved when there’s so much work left to do, and it would be naive to call our progress so far acceptable, the changes at Stirling University alone are notable.
Reading 1970s editions of Brig, I stumbled upon exploiting sketches of women, titles addressed to “gays” and most importantly- the view of Nicholas Young.
Young was simply a man who was unsatisfied with his role in society, and believed in the collective fight against sexism. His article in Brig touched upon many issues, bringing to light the improvement of women’s equality between then and now. A day in the life of a 1970s female would shock us all.
At this time a low 7% of women were actively fighting sexism in Stirling University. Some women feared changing the status quo, and some were simply cultured to accept discrimination. Now we have experts in feminism and women’s representation, a gender equality movement society and courses that use feminism as a key topic to engage in academically.
The university has blossomed into a more accepting society where woman’s rights are celebrated and studied. We do not fear equality. The concept of feminism, once foreign to students, has become a right. Students have changed hegemony in education by actively fighting sexism. It is far from perfect, but still a positive change.
Young believed it was the people that had the power to discourage sexism. That it was up to both men and women in our society. That women shouldn’t have to conform to a certain role. That the war between the sexes was hurting us all alike. Today we see feminist movements discussing not only women’s rights, but both sexes rising equally. We see thousands of men across the world supporting, promoting and loving women.
Now, we cannot ignore the problem that too much of feminist movements blame males, or that women every day face inequality, and that not enough men support gender equality- but the world is forever changing.
UN Women promote “improving and upholding” gender equality, rather than just being limited to feminism. They have the power of massive names such as Emma Watson, Anne Hathaway and Nicole Kidman. These women have become idols for both men and women who adopt their ideology and children are being raised in a world of gender equality.
The gender pay gap still reaches almost every country in the world, and women work their hardest to fill a role that may have previously been branded as only for males. Here in the UK, this gap currently sits at 17.9%. The haunting linger of sexisms past is not all lost. But it creates women who are willing to fight against this.
Young wanted “no part” to play in the role of a man in his society. He saw that men treated women as accessories and objectified them. Speaking out in Brig was his version of promoting these new ideas. This would have been a less popular view, but since we support his views.
With these thin, worn, and yellowed pages in my hands- I realised that the war of sexism is being fought successfully, and there is hope. We have yet to reach full gender equality, but likeminded people have created the reality that Young wished for. With this realisation, equality appears more likely than ever.