women in 2014

originally posted on 99% campaign

When I walk into a bar and order a drink, I don’t think about whether my drink has been spiked. I don’t keep a vigilant eye on it either, because this is a privilege I have as a man – and it should not be a privilege.

One week ago, America saw its latest mass murder in Isla Vista, California. The killer, whose name I do not wish to mention, blames the sexual rejections he received from women as the justification for his vengeance. On Twitter, the debate has gone much beyond the mass shooting and sparked a global conversation on the fears and oppression women face with the hashtag #YesAllWomen.

Surely, not all men objectify and practice violence against women, but one in four women will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime in the UK. Additionally, over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted and approximately 85,000 women are raped on average every year in England and Wales.

Unfortunately, oppression of women extends beyond mere physical violence. Evidences increasingly show that women are less self-assured than men. In a frequently cited study from Hewlett-Packard, women only apply for a job when they feel they’ve met 100% of the qualifications. On the other hand, men will apply for a position at 60% of the qualifications.

It’s hard to believe that women in 2014 still face so many injustices. #YesAllWomen is not just simply hashtag activism, but it is a movement. It is time for us to have conversations about the culture in which society treats women. And despite the fact that not all men are anti-women, all men are part of the solution.

Instead of teaching girls to protect themselves, we should teach boys to ask for consent. And instead of asking women to keep an eye on their drinks, men should stop putting drugs in the first place.

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