a letter addressing gender inequality
Eminent guests, we are all gathered here today to go deeper into our goal of achieving gender equality. To understand how everyone can make a change. I would like to thank you all for allowing me, a young teen, to express my devotion and pride in being a girl, here with you today.
My name is Giovanna Ragsdale and I am a fifteen-year-old girl with a goal. After years of watching these incredible men and women stand up to the unethical ways feminism and women empowerment is viewed, I have decided to join in on this incredible journey. In our modern world, we have so much potential to empower others around us, whether it is through words or actions, we are handed the possibilities. Through new technology, this has been made simple, if we use it to our advantage. The word could spread incredibly fast, having more and more people understand the true meaning of women empowerment and feminism. To prepare for this one in a lifetime opportunity, I watched over a hundred different speeches, my words are taken from inspiration. I wanted to make sure that used the time I have up here wisely, to choose my words very carefully so that I could leave you with a positive mark.
Over these past months, I have understood that time is everything, you are given a specific amount of time in your life. Time is valuable, my time up here on this stage is valuable, your time is valuable. This is why I have decided that I am going to use my time for the better, to spread a word that I am passionate about, to use the talents I was given to inspire others to stand up tall, be brave and speak the truth.
The truth, ahh how it is always twisted isn’t it? The truth is, feminism is a big word. Not because of its meaning, but because of the expressions, it flashes in people’s hearts when they hear it. I’ve come to a realization that this word, has been twisted, just like the minds of those listening to the uncultured. It’s been ripped apart from its true meaning. Feminism is far from “Man hating” as I have so often heard, it’s a movement to empower men and women equality in all forms. Whether it is, emotionally, physically, or financially. Men and women deserve the same rights. We often talk about how women are treated unrightfully but what I have witnessed is that men’s issues are often ignored. We say. “they have much fewer problems than women” but as a teenager, I don’t want to grow up in a world where my guy friends can’t express their emotions or feel constantly stuck in comparison. What we have not realized is that we have divided ourselves. Boys are taught to be “manly” since they were children, that showing too many emotions is not right but not showing enough is even worse. We misjudge the way they see themselves as well, women compare themselves but so do men and that is a topic we don’t speak of enough.
I was scrolling aimlessly on Instagram one day, as I do, I must admit and I realized all these posts of boys, with captions such as “WOW he is so hot, have my babies”. Yes, we laugh but what we don’t realize is, if men/boys were to post a picture of a girl with a similar caption the world would freak out. So why is it not a problem for boys to be seen this way? We say, they like their egos fed but at the end of the day, we are all human and comparison starts at a young age. Boys compare themselves just as much as girls do.
Must I repeat it?
I know it’s easy for me to say, as a girl and you could count this as an unreliable source but I believe that we have taken up our time and devotion to achieving girls' rights and as much as I support that movement, it is not equality. For too long we have put aside that boys feel just as lost and are in need of as much attention.
I have started my own campaign called the daughter to father campaign where I call out fathers with this video and ask them to make a promise. I strongly believe that women and men should be treated equally financially, emotionally, and in any other state.
This is not to be confused with overpowering men, this generation has portrayed feminism as a bad thing when in reality we are speaking on behalf of those who feel they can’t. I hope to use my campaign to promote feminism inclusion with men and not only women because the only way we can come to a change is if we all work together and understand each other.
Before I introduced you to the campaign, I want to share a story that will help you understand my reasoning for being here today and for launching this campaign, my position, and my role in the women's environment.
When I was seven I was told that I could be and do anything I wanted, my parents led me up in an environment of trust and power, a secure home. The thought of being a girl as a powerless thing had never crossed my mind. I wasn’t differentiated for being a girl by the boys at school. When I turned eleven, a couple of boys in my class laughed at the thought of a girl being faster than them. Things started changing when I presented them with the idea that anything they could do; I could do just as well. When I turned 13, boys no longer saw me as competition. I began to see a change in the way girls let themselves be treated by boys. I noticed how the world had been treating women throughout the century’s leading up to the present day and I no longer saw the world the same way. As a fifteen-year-old living in the modern world, I see how these ambitious and inspiring women are standing up, reaching out and no longer asking for help but demanding change and I feel that it is my duty as a girl to speak out, to start motion, a motion that I am positive will start a conversation, a motion I am hoping will change the way women are treated and seen, a motion that I sincerely anticipate will change the way citizens vote. From the beginning of time, girls have been portrayed as frail or fragile, when we started standing up for ourselves we were called too demanding, too aggravating, too intense. It has got to stop, this name-calling has got to stop, why does a fifteen-year-old have to explain this to you? Why do I have to start a campaign to get the rights I should have received from the day I was born? Why do men feel entitled to make sexist remarks in front of boys of the new generation? Why is this a problem in the first place?
For centuries women have not been offered the rights they deserve, the right to education, free lives, marriage, and respect. I understand what you must be thinking, “Who is this injudicious teenager? Who does she think she is to promote a campaign when she has access to all she needs?” “What does she know about gender equality, and launching a campaign?” to that I respond; It’s not about what I know or what I have gone through, I’m here to stop that from happening to anyone else. To provide a voice for those who feel they have none, I’m not here to persuade you, or ask you for help, I’m here to tell you that it’s going to happen and you should be prepared. I’m here to invite you to join me, to empower equality and to spread your substantial voices.
We can make a change. For too long we’ve waited for society to do something about equality without realizing that we are society and it’s time to stand up.
Thank you for listening, I am immensely grateful to have had this opportunity
If I can stand here and demand change, you can too.