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A Look at the Stigma Surrounding Feminism in the Workplace


Photo by Carli Aldape

fem·i·nism

/ˈfeməˌnizəm/

noun

the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.



Feminism. What do you think of when you hear that word? Is it the suffrage movement in the 1920s or the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s? Probably not. You might think about all the misconceptions you've heard in media and about other peoples reactions to the topic.

In a Forbes article by Kathy Caprino, she lists five reasons that feminism is stigmatized:






1. Feminism has been associated with strong, forceful and angry women, and our society continues to punishes forceful women.

2. Many people fear that feminism will mean that men will eventually lose out – of power, influence, impact, authority, and control, and economic opportunities.

3. Many people believe that feminists want to control the world and put men down.

4. Many people fear that feminism will overturn time-honored traditions, religious beliefs and established gender roles, and that feels scary and wrong.

5. Many people fear that feminism will bring about negative shifts in relationships, marriage, society, culture, power and authority dynamics, and in business, job and economic opportunities if and when women are on an equal footing with men.


As referenced to in Caprino's first point, there are "strong, forceful women" that have made their own success and have been labeled with cutsie names that demean the value of their work. I saw this post on LinkedIn a few weeks ago that emphasizes this:



While these names are meant to come off as empowering, it actually degrades the women who have made it there. There shouldn't be any other name for it than what it is (CEO, President, etc) because it continues to stigmatize women by giving their serious role a less-than serious name.


So as an ode to the end of International Women's Month, my call to action is this: call someone's role by what it is, because they worked hard to get there! That title holds a ton of weight, and shows just how much they earned it and we should all respect that. And if you are a woman in one of these roles, congratulations for making it there and take pride in your position!



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