November 1, 2009

“I call myself a feminist. Isn’t that what you call someone who fights for women’s rights?” That’s from the Dalai Lama. And here’s an interesting observation from Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn: “In the 19th century, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.”

Brutality against women isn’t just physical violence. Check out “Paycheck Feminism” in the fall 2009 issue of Ms. Magazine:

— Women get paid 77 centers on the dollar compared to men’s pay.

— Women over 64 receive $10,685 on average annually from Social Security. Men get $14,055.

— Insurers charge women as much as 140% more than men for identical heathcare plans.

— 169 countries guarantee paid maternity leave. Not the U.S.

— 74% of paid private sector women workers in the U.S. lack a single paid sick day. (And yet, even working women are still the primary caregivers in families with husbands. By the way, other countries do a far better job about this than the U.S.)

Is this okay with you? It’s not okay with me. In fact, it makes me damn mad. Sexism is alive and well. Bias against women is strong. (And this paycheck data is only the tip of the bias iceberg.)

Recently I was talking with Amanda, 24 years old. She said over and over that most of her same-aged friends and colleagues…both women and men…think that sexism is passe; that everything is fixed and fine. Amanda disagrees.

Then I was talking with 15-year old Morgan. She’s angry at her classmates and friends, too. Too many of them think everything is fixed for women and girls.

Morgean and Amanda know that sexism – bias against women – is alive and well everywhere in the world, even here in the U.S. And they’re angry. And they’re fighting it.

What about you? What are you doing?

Filed under: Social Commentary

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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