Guest Author - Cara Newman
The status of women has elevated tremendously especially in the Western culture throughout the last century. The nineteenth amendment of the United States Constitution finally legalized women’s rights to vote in 1920. Later, the World War II has created the country’s necessity for women to work outside of their homes. Since then, many women have found the strength and talents within themselves that they had never known existed while previously laboring away in domestic chores.
The awakening of the feminism movement has further established the call for celebrating womanhood in the 20th century. Many female scholars and leaders have strongly brought forth the attention on women's status. Are women now treated equally as men? No, unfortunately, our culture is not quite there yet. However, we cannot disregard the tremendous progress in the last century. If we put it in the perspective of the entire human history, the improvement and footwork done in the last century has been undoubtedly amazing. The progress is very much worth celebrating!
Asides from the Western culture, women in the East and parts of the Middle East have slowly found their voice in equality. Even though many women in the non-Western cultures still hold traditional roles of following their male partners, other women have truly come a long way shedding from their culturally expected roles. More and more women are now demanding the similar respect received by their male counterparts in the sharing of household chores, employment opportunities and wages.
When will women truly achieve equality? The answer to this question depends on how we define “equality”. When equality is defined as respect, treatment and basic human and civil rights, yes, I think we have had great progress in achieving the this quality in the West. The advancing progress is also closely followed by the majority of Asian countries. Unfortunately, in the areas of wage and professional opportunities, women still fall behind in many unspoken ways.
As the status of women is progressively moving up in the traditionally male dominant world, we encounter certain challenges. The unfortunate side effects of the strong feminism movement include masculine driven actions, and the total lack of emotions that are chosen by many strong female spirits in their attempt to succeed in the competitive world. When we let go of what defines us as “women”, we inevitably move backwards as we have forgotten how to honor our true strength. The spirit of feminism is to “celebrate” the essence of feminine strength, and not aliening from our true self in the process of searching for equality. Women should celebrate the unique strength and talents that only belong to us.
The status of women has elevated tremendously especially in the past century. With the footwork done by many of the courageous spirits, the future progression of women’s status is nothing but positive and hopeful. As we take on another century, let us not forget to pause and celebrate… It is great to be a woman today!