One of the first steps in the work of gender equity is deepening our understanding of concepts and develop a shared language to talk about these concepts. We’ve started a list below of key concepts to understand. Want to add or adapt? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” – bell hooks
Misogyny vs. Patriarchy vs. Sexism
Misogyny – hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, or prejudice against women. [source]
Patriarchy – the society in which we live today, characterized by current and historic unequal power relations between women and men where women are systematically disadvantaged and oppressed. [source]
Sexism – the attitudes, beliefs, stereotypes, and other types of bias that perpetuate the idea that women are somehow lesser than men. These attitudes may or may not be voiced overtly, but they nevertheless guide social interaction and behavior. [source]
Equity vs. Equality
“Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same…Fairness between genders doesn’t mean that everyone should become the same. The end goal is not for men and women to reach a complete genderless state. It means that men and women should be given the same opportunities to succeed despite their differences.” [source]
You may have seen a graphic to represent equity vs. equality that shows three people standing on boxes to see over a fence. Have you taken a critical eye to that graphic recently? We learned something really important recently by taking a closer look.
Where does the initial inequity in this graphic lie? It’s with the height of the individuals, which becomes problematic on closer inspection. “In the graphic, some people need more support to see over the fence because they are shorter, an issue inherent to the people themselves.” In reality, the inequity shouldn’t be put on those individuals, or their race or gender; that would be assuming that black folks or women are inherently less capable. Instead, the author proposes a new graphic, where “in this image, some people are standing on lower ground (a metaphor for historical oppression) and are trying to see over a higher fence (a metaphor for present-day systems of oppression).” Take an open, pliable mind to this article and figure out how it can help you stay focused on the source of inequality in our society.
“Jeremy Dowsett says [privilege] feels kind of like riding on roads built for cars. For a biker, the roads are dangerous. Not intentionally. Most drivers aren’t trying to be jerks. It’s just that the traffic rules and road system simply wasn’t made to work for both cars and bikes to coexist peacefully. Cars and bikes are different. And the truth is that ‘the whole transportation infrastructure privileges the automobile.’” [source]