One for All, and All for One: #HeForShe
In case you missed it, last week Microsoft's CEO came under fire for remarks insinuating that women shouldn't receive equal pay. At a conference celebrating women in tech, when asked how to best negotiate for a raise, Satya Nadella responded that it was "good karma" to wait and to "[have] faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along."
The backlash was immediate. Since making these comments, Nadella has backtracked via Twitter, saying he was "inarticulate" and that the industry should work towards closing the pay gap. The gender pay gap is not a new issue (and the rise of women is something that we've discussed recently on Unboxed Thoughts), but as women become more prominent in the workforce, the conversation has become increasingly important. Additionally, it's interesting to note that the backlash surrounding Nadella's comments is not the only press feminism has received lately, as several feminist advocates have been working to educate the cogs of the American media machine.
Not only are celebrities promoting the feminist platform through displaying it in lights at the VMAs or making thoughtful comparisons on Letterman, they are also endorsing it through delivering impassioned speeches. Emma Watson recently debuted her new campaign HeForShe at the United Nations, where she calls on men to stand up for feminism, pointing out all the ways that the movement is beneficial to both sexes. Personally, the most disturbing part about Nadella's answer was the thought that women should be passive and just wait for the raise to come to them. When asking for a raise, women are seen as aggressive and masculine and therefore inappropriate. Watson addresses this directly in her speech, noting:
"If men don't have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won't feel compelled to be submissive. If men don't have to control, women won't have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can all be freer, and this is what HeForShe is about. It's about freedom."
As Watson points out, feminism is important because it helps everyone. It takes away harmful stereotypes and allows for women who are strong and powerful to be the norm, instead of the exception. It allows for men who like traditionally feminine things to still be seen as powerful. In a nutshell, feminism gives everyone permission to be who they really are and like what they truly like, without worrying about being tied to their gender or stereotypes. Through educating people to understand the true meaning of feminism and its benefits for everyone, we can work towards a more equal world. And, really, who doesn't want that?