“I am a woman, so how could I not be involved with being a woman. I think every step I take in the world is a movement for women.”
Kerry Washington’s quote is a resounding statement of power and intention, a rallying cry for bold assertion of female gender identity. And a valid one at that.
As individuals, we are inextricably invested in the status of women and our progress within the world. By owning our collective identity as women, we offer support to the efforts to gain greater equality and justice for women everywhere.
There is evidence that women have made considerable progress towards gender equality in the previous century, especially within the Western world. Yet, there still remains a wide gap in the manifestation of rights and opportunities based on gender privilege. The struggle has only just begun.
For our sisters in developing nations, the reality of gender politics is a daily battle. Two-thirds of the world’s female population is illiterate. Only 16% of positions in parliament are held by women globally, indicating a barrier to women’s equitable political participation. Women still have not achieved pay equality and top-level jobs are held predominantly by men.
It is in the best interest of all women to support one another in solidarity, to join forces to create a mass movement toward gender equality. Action steps are being taken, and it is the responsibility of each of us to stand behind these initiatives and be counted.
The United Nations has set forth 8 Millennium Development Goals to guide socially responsible development that ensures the human rights of all people. Among these, Goal 3 is to promote gender equality and empower women. As the international community makes strides to advocate equality, we must do our part at the grassroots level.
As we move toward greater collaboration and united vision, each action, each effort, holds that much more weight. Every singular action becomes a statement, an assertion of our strength as women collectively and individually.