Equality Now Essay

1654 words - 7 pages

When social change is mentioned, one’s first thought is usually the sixties – the civil rights movements of the time epitomize the American idea of activism and societal adaptation, and the bold protests and important legislation that marked the civil rights era impress it upon the memory. However, social change is not a thing of the past, or limited to a single era. Social change is a pervasive and constantly-evolving part of human society, and social change continues to impact issues in the modern era. One such modern issue is feminism. While often the butt of jokes, with feminists accused of misandry and having victim complexes – some even go so far as to refer to feminists as “femi-Nazis” – feminism is not as radical as it seems. As a matter of fact, the foundation of the movement is the ‘radical’ idea that people are equal, regardless of their gender. While it seems mind-boggling that half the population of the Earth could still be regarded as ‘inferior’ merely by circumstance of their gender in the 21st century, the fact remains that modern women face many problems due to their gender. From wage gaps to glass ceilings to street harassment, these hardships are thrown into sharp relief by the added independence of college life, so a chapter of the National Organization for Women, or NOW, the premiere feminist group in America, has been founded at the University of Illinois to help address and hopefully eradicate these challenges. Through focus, inclusivity, cooperation, and emphasis on improving attitudes, the campus chapter of NOW addresses many of the challenges faced by women in college and beyond with unflinching dedication and openness.
The National Organization for Women was founded in 1966, and has 500,000 members in 550 chapters around the nation, which focus on an array of issues, including equality (in employment, schools, the justice system, and beyond), reproductive rights, and inclusivity and equality for all those considered minorities (“Information about NOW”). The campus chapter seeks to uphold those goals as well and, according to campus chapter president Anna Copper, the discussion encompasses not only the concepts of masculinity and femininity, but racism, sexuality, economic inequalities, and a broad spectrum of social issues. This is unsurprising when one considers that feminism includes all women around the world, and respects and uplifts them in all their struggles. With such a large focus, it would be strange for NOW to hone in on a singular issue and bill themselves as a broad-spectrum, or ‘intersectional’, feminist group. With these causes in mind, goals like eliminating hiring and wage discrepancies between genders, ensuring safety for women against gender-specific (or gender-correlated) violence, securing reproductive rights for women, and ensuring cooperation with other social movements for the oppressed are all goals of NOW. These strong goals allow NOW to have the ‘collective’ nature mentioned in class as a...

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