Salisbury Press

Friday, January 19, 2018

Another view

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by The Press in Opinion

Feminism and the ‘glass ceiling’ ‘

On Jan. 10, 1878, the amendment granting women the right to vote was first proposed. This right wasn’t permitted for women until the passing of the 19th Amendment Aug. 18, 1920. I know there is a lengthy process for such changes, but 42 years seems excessive.

It’s worth noting Merriam-Webster’s 2017 word of the year is “feminism.”

According to a Dec. 13, 2017 article on BBC News, the spike in interest for this particular word originated from the increase in women’s marches, sexual assault allegations and new television shows and movies focusing on women’s issues. Many shows and movies in 2017 also featured strong female lead characters.

The article stated women feared their rights were under attack, especially under the Trump administration. It has taken women years to get the rights we have, and it would appear in 2017, women decided they were not going to give up anything without a fight.

The word “feminism” itself and its meaning has been a heavily debated topic.

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” Nowhere in that definition does it say anything about being anti-male, which is one of the primary attacks against feminism.

There is an important difference between being anti-male and being pro-female.

I believe feminism is about raising women up to the same level as men, not about bringing men down. Women want equality. It would be counterproductive to take away men’s rights. Instead, women want to rise up to match the rights and standards which men have.

Almost 40 years ago, Marilyn Loder first used the phrase “glass ceiling” to refer to the barrier of success many women experience during their careers. In a recent BBC News article, Loder recounts that day in 1978 when she first coined the term and how things may or may not have changed over time.

According to Loder, the barriers women experienced were more cultural and not personal. These roadblocks weren’t related to the person specifically, but rather to her gender alone. She mentioned having been passed over for a promotion, despite her better performance record, for a man simply because he was the primary “breadwinner” of his household, so he needed the money more.

She noted the dramatic increase in the number of females in middle-management positions but warned against the sense of complacency about the lack of women at the top of the ladder. Loder urged companies and their employees to speak up about injustices within the corporate structure and to stand for equality in the workplace.

We’ve made progress but can’t stop now.

2017 was a strong year for women and their solidarity. Continue standing strong and united in 2018.

Samantha Anderson

editorial assistant

Whitehall-Coplay Press

Northampton Press

Catasauqua Press