Recently, as I walked home from work, I met two men and a woman in the train who were talking about the new management board in their company. Then one of these men said with conviction “finally we have a young, pretty woman in the executive board“. Actually, his statement wouldn`t have disturbed me, hadn`t there been the special emphasis on “young and handsome”. The woman in the group – she probably thought the same as I in that moment – but responded with a polite and embarrassed smile.
Well, gender diversity …
Also recently, in a seminar survey on “Theories of Discrimination” at the University of Lucerne hardly any woman called herself a feminist, because the word, as it was consensus, was so negatively charged.
And just a few hours later, at the end of the evening, I heard my friends argueing that in Switzerland things are “actually quite good” when it comes to gender equality.
Well, yes sure. Just because gender diversity is currently en vogue does not mean that we are already in the age of post-feminism.
We are still far away from gender equality because (just to cite a couple of many examples):
The gender pay gap is still between 12% and 15% in the private as well as in the public sectors in Switzerland.
Most insulting words in the German language are somehow connected to females (doofe Kuh, Schlampe, Hure, Zicke, Schwuchtel, etc). Apparently, there is nothing worse than being feminine or having a different sexual orientation.
As women, we are still too often referred to as the guilty and cannot feel safe in everyday life. This is shown by the countless examples of women under the hashtag #SchweizerAufschrei as a reaction to the statement of a Swiss politician, who said in an interview that naive women also contribute in a way to being raped.
Cat Calling is not only a nerve-killing pain, it also makes you angry and frightened. So, some of my friends do not go home when they want and stay longer at the party because they do not want to go home alone, but with friends. And so I hear that some women no longer wear short skirts and neckline.
(Here counter-reaction to cat-calling)
In my opinion, we are still far from self-determination because :
I want to make my own decisions and live independently and thus counteract outdated role models. I want to deal freely with my sexuality, to determine and to possess it myself. For example, there is no positive German word for women who live their sexuality. Men are called “Womanizer” or then a “male bitch” (deutsch: männliche Schlampe – thus again a female swear word). We are told that as a woman you can not sleep with many men and yet many do. And then it is okay if we call each other a “bitch” when we live our sexuality freely. At the same time, the masturbation of women is a taboo, because it makes no sense and young girls are taught early that the first time hurts and that they even lose a part of themselves – that sex can also be fun, for both men and women, is no topic. So stop persuading another generation of young women to lose a part of themselves through an act that is fun and that it is wrong to have fun with many men!
And finally, not only women, but also men need feminism and more gender equality! Our social system also includes gender stereotypes, prejudices, gender discrimination and sexism against men.