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What does feminism mean to women at the top

“I’m not a feminist, but…” is used far too often by women to preface their opinion. Why do we feel the need to justify ourselves or shy away from associations with equality? The typical “feminist” is seen as an angry, hairy, bra-burning woman who hates men. However, based on the derivative of the word; if you genuinely believe that men and women should be treated equally, you’re a feminist. Shaving your legs doesn’t mean you can’t be a feminist – the face of feminism is not what it seems.

Many celebrities assert, “I’m not a feminist because I love men”. This is a short-sighted perspective that suggests if you like apples, you therefore can’t be an orange enthusiast.

What is it about feminism that makes people so uncomfortable? The term feminism has taken on a wide range of meanings over the past decade, earning itself an arguably negative name.

Some women believe that in order for women to get ahead, we must act like men. Others believe that we must be given preferential treatment in order to diminish past discrimination. Others believe that feminism means that a woman is equally valuable, regardless of whether they choose a role as a housewife or a CEO. We decided to explore what powerful women of today believe about feminism.

Sheryl Sandburg

She is the number two at Facebook and one of the most influential business women in the world. Sandburg has two young children, she leaves the office at 5:30pm every day and feels no shame in being a woman who “cries at work”. Sandburg insists that women really can have it all if they’re not afraid to put in the hard work from the beginning.

“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders… A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”

Michelle Obama

Another controversial woman at the top is Michelle Obama, declared to be both a “feminist” first lady and a “feminist nightmare”. Regardless of your opinion on her choice to leave the corporate world, Obama concertedly speaks out against issues relating to mental health, physical health, women’s rights and education.

“I never cut class. I loved getting A’s, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world…Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. ”

Tina Fey

As the first female writer on Saturday Night live, a screenwriter and the creator, producer and star of her own TV show, Tina Fey has never taken “no” for an answer. She is renowned for her ability to respond to sexism in a casually marked and cheeky manner. Fey believes in a world where women are achieving at a rate that we can stop counting what number they are to achieve something.

“My unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism… ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.”

John Legend
If feminism really concern the basic belief in the equality of genders, why don’t all men consider themselves to be “feminists”? During a press conference, John Legend surprised more than just the journalists present when he reversed a question asking why he would be a feminist. Believing that the definition of feminism has been misunderstood, he asked why any man wouldn’t consider himself a feminist.

“All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights the world will be a better place [...] We are better off when women are empowered — it leads to a better society.”

WORDS BY CYNDALL MCINERNEY  PropellHer make it our mission to provide you with inspirational men and women who believe in the equality and empowerment of women in the workforce. Why not take a look at our mentor directory and take a psychographic test to see who your best match is!


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