The Ties That Bind Gender Equity And Human Freedom – Forbes

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 9:03 am

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From Ida B. Wells, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Malala Yousafzai, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Elle Hearns, to Raquel Willis, the evolution of the fight for women's rights is way more nuanced than what you see on the surface. There are other intersections to consider and apply to the understanding of womanhood and being fem-presenting in contemporary society. In the evolution of feminism, multiple waves have come that demanded so many more intersections be applied to the overarching fight for women and fem-presenting people.

The first wave of the Women's Liberation Movement in the U.S. was feminism centered on the political concerns of middle- and upper-class white women. This wave involved womens suffrage and voting equality but did not involve racial equality. The Abolitionist Movement, instead, is where black women were most likely to be given the platforms to advocate for their issues. It is still historically unclear whether the first wave of feminists reluctantly included black women after some years to increase numbers and gain more visibility and momentum or if the early leaders of the movement truly saw black women as equals in suffering under a world where white men ruled.

Ebony Ava Harper is a Human Rights Activist and Director of The National Alliance for Trans Liberation and Advancement.

Through the Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Liberation Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, activists claimed new political rights and cultural liberties for people of color and bolstered a political climate of protest and rebellion. For example, Rosa Parks paved the way for Gloria Steinems success and impact. Do you see a pattern here? The second wave of the women's liberation movement brought us a womans right to choose, a womans right to vote, and a closer mainstream reflection of the power of womanhood. Even in all that growth, the liberation of women meant different things to women of different racial and cultural backgrounds. Five decades ago, women fighting for rights to be queer and the ability to choose was a great notion of radicalism. And, in some parts of this country, it's still a radical notion for women to be free of strong patriarchal pressures and influences in all aspects of their lives.

From the 60s to the 90s and the early 2000s, feminism took on punk rock culture, and a black woman named Anita Hill testified to an all-white male Senate Judiciary Committee. Many call this the third-wave of feminism. Feminism involving the lens of racial oppression, workplace harassment, and erasure in the HIV/AIDS conversation blossomed into an overarching conversation about the human condition through the perspective of women and fem-presenting people. During this time, it became clear that feminisms overarching goals needed to be inclusive and embrace a broader fight for equity. While there were always intersections in Women's Liberation, all of those intersections needed space to be acknowledged and incorporated into the fabric of feminism.

Fast forward to 2012 through the present, and we have the #MeToo movement and a higher demand to include transgender rights and needs in the conversation around gender equity. Trans activists like Raquel Willis have used their platforms to celebrate and uplift transgender women. Many call this the fourth-wave of the fight for gender equality. This wave has caused us to be more introspective, more conscious of what it means to be a woman, and how the spectrum of womanhood is so vast and wide that one can't just simply name it one thing.

Now, there is an epidemic of trans women of color being murdered. The pay gap between women and menand discrepancies in the pay gap between people of different racial backgroundsis immense. Black women shoulder the brunt of the political and emotional toll of most liberation movements. It cannot be said that feminism perfectly addresses the inequities of human injustices caused by colonial, capitalist, and social oppression.

However, the ties that have boundand continue to bindthe movements throughout time are the power of women and femmes uniting. The power of women and femmes leading the fight for human rights is undefeatable. From the Underground Railroad to Stonewall, black women have been at the forefront of shaking the foundations of gender equity and pushing the expectations within broader conversations of what quantities as human rights toward true progress. The truth is whether you are black, white, AAPI, trans, disabled, an immigranthowever your fem presentation shows upwe are humans first. And that is the tie that binds us. That is the understanding we must all come to the table with.

Weve endured some rough, trying times, but the women united will never be divided. Women and femmes are so often the spines and hearts of their households and communities. They spend the most time with children, the literal future of our species. We must come together to define what compassion and care are for everyone to impart that unity upon our children. The United State of Women is a nation of compassionate, loving people. The United State of Women is a nation free of colonialism and patriarchy. The United State of Women is the only way forward.

Ebony Harper is a featured speaker at Galvanize California, hosted by the United State of Women at Sacramento State University Union on October 26, 2019 from 10AM-6PM. For tickets and more information, click the following link:

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The Ties That Bind Gender Equity And Human Freedom - Forbes

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October 20th, 2019 at 9:03 am