Human Rights, Opinion, World, Editor's Choice

Feminism vs. Gender Equality: Does it Mean the Same?

Whenever someone asks me if I’m a feminist, I answer; “I do believe in gender equality and feminism is a part of it but I don’t call myself a feminist because that would mean I’m more concerned for the equality of a section of the society (in this case men and women) and not for equality for all.” I get these weird looks and a lecture on how “women like me” support men and oppress women and a not-so-polite reminder that FEMINISM IS GENDER EQUALITY. However, I beg to differ.

Everyone is talking about feminism these days. I still remember Emma Watson’s UN speech and the way she expressed that Feminism is not limited to women, men should be Feminists as well. A quick Google search on the meaning of Feminism says, “Feminism is the advocacy of women’s right on the grounds of the equality of sexes”. Two things really caught my attention in this definition: “Women’s rights” and “Equality of Sexes”.

The Objective of Feminism

Interestingly, the objective of it is to achieve equality between men and women, to liberate women so as to provide them with the social, political, and economic rights same as that of men. But the question is — would achieving the objectives of feminism be enough? We want equality, yes, but is it limited to the equality of Men and Women? Aren’t we avoiding the bigger picture?

Oh, the bigger picture. We are fighting for respect, for the rights of women to be equal to that of men. But what about those people who don’t identify themselves as a man nor a woman? Isn’t equality for them a part of Gender equality? If yes, why do we call feminism a fight for gender equality?

Moreover, the feminist movements started at the time when society recognized only two sexes — Male and Female. With transgender and people from LGBTQ community getting acceptance, recognition, and rights everywhere today, the definition of sex or gender is no longer limited to the traditionally accepted two. In fact, biologically, there are six common sexes in humans.

Gender Equality

Thankfully, we are starting to acknowledge the fact that there are more than two genders. Male, Female and the Transgender, someone who is neither a male nor a female. If we are fighting for the equality of men and women and calling it “Gender Equality”, we are being unfair to our society, to all those people who are neither men nor women and to us.

Those who are using feminism synonymous to gender equality should understand that Feminism is not the equality of sexes. The fight for equality is segregated into smaller sections and Women are the majority in the “oppressed sections” of the society. So feminism is actually a part of gender equality movements. Our fight for equality is evolving and is more complex than ever. We are not being true to the essence of equality by calling feminism the movement for gender equality.

What Equality Means

Equality means to treat no individual differently on the base of their sex, religion, caste or color. Then, what is the reason for dividing this fight for equality in different sections? Why can’t we fight for the equality of every individual rather than fighting in segments for the equality of different sexes, races, or preferences?

We need feminism, but more than that we need humanism, we need individualism. Providing equal rights and opportunities to each and every individual and respecting everyone equally no matter whether they are male or female or both or none; gay or eunuch; white or black.

However, I’m in no way against feminism or what it stands for, what I don’t support is the undue reverence of people towards the cause they are supporting. Standing in support of Gender Equality automatically means you support feminism, but the opposite case might not be true. Feminism is a part of equality and not gender equality itself.