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Vocal Magazine Article By Aggie Jordan Published 3 days ago • 4 min read

Create Story A Woman's Voice Should Be Heard Everyday sexism, deep-rooted prejudice, or mistreatment of women and girls, continues to persist in different forms. There’s no one way to address sexism since it appears in so many configurations. Let’s explore various approaches that can be adopted to ensure that progress toward women’s equality continues to be made. Hopefully, some of these steps can shed light on some successes that have raised awareness about sexism and promoted equality. Forced Into the Political Arena The United States Supreme Court’s rejection of Roe vs. Wade, its political associates like the Federalist Society, its strong anti-feminist state legislatures, and conservative donors with deep pockets, have raised the passions of females. This sexist decision is embraced with equal fire today with legislatures and courts involved in women’s health. Women recognize the dangers that they face with governments that have decided to control their health. They believe that decisions about getting pregnant, or giving birth or not, and the consequent health care required, belong to the individual and her doctor. Governments cannot make those health care judgments by passing laws. We women who live in democracies must vote at every level of government for all our rights, no less those of our daughters and granddaughters. Many women in this world don’t have the right to vote. So often we ignore our local council, school board, and state elections and think that only congressional and presidential elections count. Although we women over 45 had rights over our own bodies, young women no longer have those rights. It's All Around Us Sexism also contributes to the oppression and mistreatment of women in the home, in religions, in corporations, with professional firms, in sports, in the arts, in the healthcare industry, in grade and high school classrooms, and on university campuses. It is all around us. We must call it out. If we are in a public setting, it may not be appropriate, particularly if the offender is a leader or the discussion is at a critical point. Then we should speak privately to the offender with calmness and directness, particularly when our hackles rise. Being alert to what is happening around us is important. Misogynism is another word for sexism. The belief that women are not equal to men is so systemic that even feminists are sometimes guilty. It lessens a women’s worth. Do we look down on women who fill “female” jobs? Do we encourage young women to enter the stereotypically male trades: truck drivers, plumbers, or carpenters? They typically pay so much better than female office workers. Do we think it is beneath a woman to work in these jobs? If we do, we are misogynistic. Women’s inequality is easily recognizable in the language we use. A study done at Stanford University identified the words used in references to leadership behavior. For centuries, aggressive, assertive, strong, decisive, and forceful have been identified as acceptable male leadership qualities. When women leaders were seen with those assets, they were regarded as not kind, considerate, or caring. Recently such words as decisiveness, confidence, and ambition seem to be leadership qualities used for promotable women, whereas aggressiveness and assertiveness are not. I recommend that all of us become language monitors. What do you hear among your friends, both men and women? What expressions do you use that may lessen the value of women? I know “bitch” is a common, “fun” word among young people. Should its expression be allowed to grow? We need to honestly examine traditions in our families and workplace. Do they underestimate the value of women? Do women wait on the men at family get-togethers? Do the women do the kitchen work? Do you serve your father before your mother? Then finally, we can examine how we feel about other women. Do we give priority to men’s requests over those of women? In general, do we prefer the company of men to other women? Are we jealous of women who get promoted? What are our values? Successful Campaigns in Raising Awareness about Sexism Media awareness. women’s conferences, the United Nations worldwide conferences on gender equality, university research, and government-sponsored efforts have supported gender equality. Recently the efforts of the conservative churches “to remind women of their place beneath their male members have set a fire among women gathering together to fight these strong movements in their churches. Women are also campaigning to increase the number of people who vote in their next elections. Since women’s equality is in the hands of politicians today, will it be in the hands of women voters within the next two years? What should women do? We women also care about our relationships. It takes a long time, sometimes years to realize that our value is sacred and equal to that of others, particularly our male partners. We are careful, perhaps too cautious, about hurting someone. We must ask ourselves, Is someone else more important than I am? If so, why? Is it our lack of self-confidence? Often that’s based on our devaluing ourselves over others. At times our actions shout that we are inferior. Usually, it’s because of how we’ve been raised or because it’s difficult to throw off that cloak of protection. Our voices need to be heard. We have something to offer to this world. We have talent. Are we willing to share? Do not hide your light under a bushel. You were created equal. Most of our voices have been silenced by authority: schools, our fathers, uncles, and brothers, and even by our mothers or our beloved partners. I believe blogs, podcasts, women’s groups, and education conferences can help our sisters understand their value and that our society needs their talents. You can find more on the topic by checking out how women have successfully fought sexism in my memoir, A Woman’s Voice Should Be Heard: My Journey From The Convent To The Battle For Women’s Equality.”

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