It’s national Women’s History Month and while women of all races and sexualities should be celebrated, there are still things that have happened recently that show not all women suffer equally.
The definition of feminism is the belief in social, economic, and political equality of sexes, according to Britannica.com.
While some people may view feminists as extreme and haters of men, I would like to consider myself a feminist because I want gender equality for everyone — just like the definition conveys.
Universities and the country as a whole have progressed toward improvement for equality. Compared to 100 years ago, it has gotten better, but not by that much.
I have been reading a book called “The Art of Fact” for one of my classes. The book includes many authors of many short stories, and I decided to count how many authors in the book were not a white male.
There are 38 authors in the book and eight of them are not white men — or about 21% of the book.
That made me question what I was reading and intaking every day even more.
I also had to watch a documentary for a class called “Miss Representation” about how women are depicted in the media and how women are taught young to use beauty to appeal to men at a young age.
The documentary encompassed so much that I was quite overwhelmed.
I agreed with everything it was saying because it was true: women are objectified and sexualized by society.
The documentary made me think more about what it means to be a woman in America and in college today.
Having a misogynistic former president who devalued women also did not benefit anyone going into this year.
While the United States did make history with the first female vice president, Kamala Harris, that does not mean we have progressed to a place where we need to be.
According to UN Women, there are not many women leaders in politics, with only 25% of all national parliamentarians being women and 22 countries having women heads of government.
In both the Senate and the House of Representatives, there are a total of 539 seats, 144 of which are held by women, good for 27% of Congress — a new record.
It may be the highest number of women in Congress ever, but it seems like there are not many women running for government positions — why is that?
I believe it is because women in general have a low political efficacy. Being unworthy and inferior to men has been implanted in women’s minds since we were very young.
Without women in politics, men will continue to make the wrong decisions and women’s voices will continue to be ignored.
The “pink tax” is gender-based pricing and upcharging of products traditionally geared toward women. That means that women and men could have the same type of shampoo, but the assigned label for the women’s product will be priced higher.
It is ridiculous that this is still happening, and I have especially noticed it in the past year alone.
Women also get paid $0.81 for every dollar men make.
How is this gender pay gap still happening? All the above inequalities are obscene and outdated.
I work just as hard, maybe even harder, than some of my male coworkers and I bet women would agree with me. Why is there still a pay gap based on gender?
My point of mentioning these two points is to prove that we are not moving forward into the future and making progress. Mistreatment can also be seen through many things going on in the world right now.
This can be seen in sports for women as well. While the industry is more welcoming to women, it still needs to improve.
This year, Sarah Thomas became the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl. But is this somewhat large step leading to progress toward equality?
The NCAA’s treatment of women in the Division I basketball tournament showed how significantly different the treatment of women and men in sports is.
Men’s basketball had a completely stocked weight room and women originally had only a small pyramid for weights.
It’s a noticeable difference.
This weight room incident shows how incompetant the NCAA and organizations like it can be. It was utterly wrong and sexist.
It all leads back to money, along with internal and external biases among NCAA officials. This is not a new phenomenon, and the NCAA should have done the correct thing from the beginning.
The recent killing of eight people in massage parlors in Atlanta, six of whom being Asian women, and the death of Sarah Everard in the U.K. shows that women are still targets of violence.
The Atlanta shootings show mostly how Asian women are a particular target for violence, especially in the last year.
This was a disgusting hate crime that should never have happened, but it has continuously happened and will continue if people do not learn from such horrors.
This was not just an example of anti-Asian violence, but also anti-women violence.
Everard’s death is another case of how women are too often objectified.
If you do not know what happened, Everard was abducted the night of March 3 in London and was later killed.
This angered women across the U.K and led them to tell their own stories of harassment, arguing for more protection. Police were also criticised in their methods of detaining the peaceful protests held for Everard.
Everard chose well-lit streets and talked with her boyfriend on the phone. This is something that women are taught young.
When I was very young, I remember my mom teaching me how to get someone off me if they were holding my wrists. I would practice with her holding my wrist and I would twist it a certain way to break free of her grasp.
Self-defense and self-awareness have been ingrained in me forever just because I am a woman, and I think many women are in the same boat.
I usually feel safe walking around Penn State campus and downtown, but you can never be too careful. While there are options to help keep women safe all over Penn State, I am still cautious.
At night, I make sure to keep one earbud out of my ear if I am listening to music. I share my location with my friends, I keep my keys handy, and I try to walk along the main streets at night.
Leaving some of my friend’s places, I try to leave with other people. It can sometimes give me an uncomfortable feeling at night, and Everard’s death really proves that women are targeted and need to be more careful.
Much of the conversation about Everard’s death revolves around men and what they can do to put women at ease — like crossing the street at night if they are behind a woman or realizing the concept of consent and what it really means.
What really scares me are the recent sexual offenses that happen at Penn State. We get the ominous alert though our email and we shrug it off.
Why is this a frequent occurrence, especially this semester? How are women reacting to these happenings?
Quite honestly, I am scared and whenever I get those alerts, and I freak out a bit. Will it happen to me and how can I feel safe?
The recent sexual assault allegations against David Dobrik after a video released in 2018 showed how men can not just sit back and watch when things happen to women. They have to do something about it.
This culture of masculinity seems to convince men they have no responsibility in such matters.
We should not be educating women about how to act or stay safe around men, but rather men should educate themselves and learn when something is not okay — whether they are a bystander or making a woman uncomfortable themselves.
Girls are afraid to stand up and we are afraid to say no because we are scared of men. I recently had a man come up to me while I was sitting outside, and he made me very uncomfortable, but I could not say “You are making me very uncomfortable,” out of fear of judgment and ridicule.
While this column may be a very depressing look at what this year’s national women’s month has given women so far, I think this was an important reflection point. College can be a scary place for women.
Women of all races and sexual preferences deserve equality, and we need to take the steps that we have not taken toward these goals.