Beyoncé has been lauded as a bit of a feminist icon throughout her career, but especially after the release of her self-titled album in December. The record covered lots of different themes, from sex and lust (PLENTY of that) to the way society shapes young women into people who lack self-confidence and aim only to please other people. I think Bey is a great feminist (even if she does have a few too many tickets on herself, so to speak) and now she’s taken it to the next level by writing an essay about gender (in)equality.
Here’s en excerpt from the essay as published on The Shriver Report:
We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.
If women received pay equal to their male counterparts, the U.S. economy would produce $447.6 billion in additional income.
Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.
We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.
The full essay can be seen in the latest issue of The Shriver Report, entitled ‘A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink’, which is available on Amazon for free until tomorrow.
In any case, I dig what Beyoncé is saying here and it’s certainly ridiculous that women are still paid less than men for the exact same job, and that certain fields are still unfriendly towards inclusion of women – tech and sciences being the biggest culprits here, but there are plenty of others. Still, it’s a shame we have to have Beyoncé point out the obvious for us to pay any attention to it, even though it is a great thing that she’s using her status for good.