Being a feminist simply means that you believe in equal rights for women.
It says that you understand that there is still institutionalized inequity in the way women are regarded and treated in society and that you believe these institutionalized barriers should be removed in order that women experience the same rights and freedoms as men do.
Many people say “Well, shouldn’t you just be a humanist? Don’t you believe in equal rights for men too?”
And the answer is Yes. Feminism doesn’t mean that men should not have equal rights. It means that we understand that socially, economically, professionally, women are still negatively impacted by internalized sexism and gender stereotypes. And we also understand that our world view, the way we operate in the public sphere and in family life, is based on patriarchal principles, which have traditionally ignored the unique and diverse needs of women. As such, society places a heavy burden on women and there are many gaps in laws and policies which further disadvantage women and make it more difficult for them to enjoy the same rights and freedoms that men do. Additionally, women’s safety is a major issue that feminism must address, particularly violence against women (domestic abuse, murder, rape, trafficking).
Breaking down these gender barriers not only benefits women, but it benefits men as well. By building a more equitable and just society in general, and implementing laws and policies that focus on diversity and an examination of men and women’s needs – men, women, children and families will all experience greater well-being.