Speak up, take action against sexism

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In an industry dominated by men, I feel the need to stand up for women who believe they’re not adequate enough for their jobs. 

If you asked me a couple of years ago if I was feminist, I’m ashamed to say I would have said no. But here I am, editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, wondering why there are looks of surprise and uncertainty when someone comes into the newsroom and says, “I’m looking for the editor-in-chief of the Dixie Sun,” and I say, “That would be me.” 

For me, being a feminist means believing in equality. I expect to be held at the same standards as men, and I expect to receive the same respect men do.

Normally I wouldn’t let actions like strange looks or microagressions bother me because sometimes it’s unintentional, but as a leader of an organization, I can’t falter to those who think a man would be better suited for the job I have. I know I have the capabilities and stamina it takes to keep up with this job.

Unfortunately, I’ve had men and women in my life tell me I’d be better suited as a dental hygienist or a receptionist. There’s nothing wrong with those jobs, but I’m a journalist at heart, and I’m not afraid to show I have what it takes to compete for what I want in this field. But it’s frustrating that women like myself will have to work harder when that competition is against men. 

According to an article titled “Where are the women?” on niemanreports.org, 37.2 percent of journalists in 2013 were women, which is only a 0.3 percent difference from 1998. When it comes to management positions, the Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media found men occupy 73 percent of those positions.

I never came into this job thinking, “I’ll try my best, but my best probably isn’t as good as a man’s would be.” But I did know I would handle certain situations differently than a man would. I’ve had my fair share being around men in management positions, and I’d like to think that I’m more sensitive and understanding than some men I’ve worked with. But at the same time, I’ve also worked with sensitive, good-hearted men, and I’ve worked with women who are tough and don’t let something like maternity leave stop them from completing their duties. These are just stereotypes.

Ladies, it’s OK not to fit into society’s norm of what a CEO, a businesswoman or a manager should be. But we need more women in these positions to make our voices heard.

The argument of sexism in the work force and the gender gap with wages won’t go away for some time, but if we continue to stand up to people who question our capabilities as women, we can make strides. We’ll continually be questioned, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

When they say, “You’d be better as a caretaker,” you say, “I’m even better at my job.”

When they say, “No sweetie. I can do that for you,” you say, “No thanks. I can do it myself.”

When they say, “Make sure to look pretty for work,” you say, “My looks have nothing to do with my work performance.”