Who's your father?

There is no doubt that being a woman in the 21st century is much easier than it used to be in the past. Women traveled a long and arduous path until they managed to express their voice and obtain the rights they have today. Since the post-Industrial Revolution period, the well-known “suffragettes” have claimed their rights. The struggle for the female vote was the first step to be reached on the feminist horizon.

Great Britain, 4th June, 1913. This was the day that Emily Davison, a feminist activist, died in support of her beliefs, by throwing herself in front of King George V's horse at the Derby Epson Downs. This is just one example among several other episodes of the fight against sexism that have marked history, and today is even portrayed in films and books.

However, despite having achieved so much, the struggle continues. The reasons are different, but the struggle is the same.

"A menina é filha de quem?" (“Who is your father?”) is the title of a book by Rita Ferro, Portuguese journalist and author, that makes me reflect on the idea - erroneous and sexist - that a woman needs to be someone's daughter, granddaughter, niece or wife. As if we weren’t enough. Several women prove that we don't need to be associated with a male figure in order to be recognized for our merit. You probably know the American magazine "Time". Since 2004, the magazine has published the list of the 100 most influential people in the world and, in 2019, for the first time, almost half of the names were women! Among these names are actresses like Sandra Oh and Emilia Clarke, pop singers like Ariana Grande, sportswomen like Alex Morgan and political figures like Michelle Obama, who, despite being first lady, today is much more than the former US president’s wife.

The question doesn’t arise in terms of competence, productivity, talent and merit. It is more than proven that women can be equal to men in this aspect. However, the numbers don’t reflect this equality. Women earn annually, on average, less $10k than men for the same number of hours or more (WEF). In Portugal, leadership positions continue to be held mainly by men, as only 16.2% of women belong to the companies' board of directors (WEF). Given this reality, unjustified explanations for these differences shouldn’t be accepted, such as the issue of women becoming pregnant and needing more extensive maternity leave. I know, and I believe that, many of you must also know cases of women who were automatically excluded for certain positions, simply because they intended to have children in the future.

Another thing that shocked me a while ago was the idea of ​​creating school books for boys and girls, with distinctions of colors and themes to encourage children to choose activities associated with their gender. For example, bo