Gender issues have been a mainstay of conversation in our society. This began in the early 1900s with the Women’s Suffrage movement, starting the “waves” of Feminism. Now we’ve reached the third wave of Feminism. They focus on the issues of sexual assault, sexual liberation, reproductive rights, and the gender pay gap. Critics of the wave feel it is possible the feminist movement has gone overboard in the quest for equality. Some will even argue they have already reached it. While on the other side Men’s issues rarely receive mainstream attention. Some in the Feminist movement will even view them as actually a women’s issue. This has caused a sense of disenfranchisement within men, leading to them forming their own organizations to solve their issues.
Jack Parkos | Laissez_Faire76
For many, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) may seem like the perfect choice for a libertarian like myself. Indeed, they have some good viewpoints with which I agree with. The ACLU heavily opposes the methods of the drug war while supporting free speech and privacy. Furthermore, they take aggressive stances against torture and many other cruel cases of abuse of rights. While I may not agree with the ACLU on everything, I would be able to agree to disagree on some minor issues, however, one issue makes my hesitation towards this organization extreme.
Mae Buck | United States
Many ultra-traditionalist conservatives might have you believe that toxic masculinity is just an excuse for boys who aren’t “boy enough” to exist and for men who aren’t “men enough” to exist. It’s the lack of masculinity that causes erratic violence, right? But, is it the surge of masculinity (and perhaps its friend, testosterone) that catalyzes “good” violence? The same masculinity that gives rise to calculated violence against deserving enemies and makes enemies in the first place?
By Cassandra Twining | United States
Recently Gillette released an ad addressing and highlighting the changes that our society is moving towards when it comes to men. Namely, it addresses how we as a society are starting to hold men accountable for their inappropriate actions.
This ad has been very controversial and has received a lot of backlash from various media outlets and viewers alike. However, I think these critics are missing the main lesson that should be taken away from this video. Men do not understand what it’s like to grow up as a woman.
That seems like a given, right? But it’s not something people are paying enough attention to. Of course, there are differences in how people grow up. That’s obvious, but how blatant are these differences once you start to look closer?
Before I start I want it to be known I recognize while the way I’ve grown up is certainly different from others, but I certainly think there are a lot of similarities between me and most girls my age. Furthermore, these are just my experiences. I would never pretend to speak for women or men as a whole. It’s just not my place.
The main takeaway of this video is that men don’t know what it’s like to grow up as a girl can be narrowed even further. From as young as I can possibly remember I was taught to take responsibility for myself and the situations I’m in. If there was a man staring at me inappropriately it was my job to dress in such a way that eliminated his desire to do that. It was never his job to perhaps, not stare at a young girl in that way. This line of logic can be applied to many situations in my childhood.
I’m not the only one who has dealt with this either. 77% of women report they have experienced some kind of verbal sexual harassment in their life. That’s 3 out of 4 women. Sadly, it is not at all uncommon for women to experience this all throughout their life. It can make them feel very unsafe and scared. This is where I suggest men start to take a stand and attempt to help.
I certainly think people should be responsible for their own safety and should consider situations they’re getting themselves into, no matter their gender. However, we as a society could try to start changing the balance of who holds the responsibility. What if I was not only aware of putting myself in safe situations, but the men around me were also making sure they were doing their part to make sure I wasn’t in a situation I would feel uncomfortable in. If we shared the responsibility you would move towards women being able to feel safer and more accommodated.
Not only that, but men should want to learn how to make situations more comfortable for women. If you purposely try to make situations scary or uncomfortable for women the problem is much deeper than this ad addresses. If that’s not you, be open to learning! Ask the women in your life what are some things you could do to help them feel safer, or ask them things they fear in everyday life that you probably don’t even think twice about and think of ways you could make that a better experience for women all around you.
I’m not asking that men take all the responsibility for ensuring the safety of women everywhere. I think women should still be aware of themselves and their surroundings and be responsible for their own safety. However, if men started to notice things like a creepy man staring at a woman and stepped in to offer support to the woman, this would revolutionize our interactions and the feelings of fear women suffer from on a daily basis.
The fact of the matter is, women fear things men don’t even think to be afraid of. I encourage men everywhere to start a conversation about it. Whether that be with your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, or just a female friend. I can guarantee they will appreciate your proactiveness, and you will also be able to learn ways to make the world safer for the women around you. Why anyone wouldn’t like the idea of doing that is beyond me.
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In a world full of immense suffering, many see it as their job to try to alleviate it. In a number of such instances, governments take it upon themselves to try to solve the crises. However, their actions are not always effective. So, there is still a considerable market for private charities and companies to aid the poorest of the poor. Thus, the microfinance industry came to be.
What is Microfinance?
Microfinance is an economic practice where startups lend small amounts of money to small business owners to help them become more profitable. Though more of the poor are getting bank accounts, there are still many in third world countries without access. Moreover, even some areas with a bank do not allow women to open accounts, as many third world countries have yet to reach gender equality.
This poor reality is an iron chain on social mobility. Without basic access to lending and borrowing, it can be very hard for a poor family to start a small business and begin to increase their standard of living. Despite this, there is still hope for them, as microfinance is beginning to turn the tides.
A Method of Proven Success
SHARE Micro Finance Limited, a company based in India, lends women small amounts of money so that they may further their businesses. Each client receives only one payment equal to $50 to $100 in USD. The money may go towards buying them equipment to transport products. The women may also use it to begin moving their operations online.
So, what have been the results? A staggering 77% of these women have seen income increases. Over a third have risen their incomes enough to no longer be living in poverty. With these results, SHARE has become India’s largest microfinance industry, serving over 200,000 people.
SHARE is not alone in its success. Countless other stories throughout the developing world show similar increases. From Kenya to Colombia to Pakistan, microfinance is accelerating the path of families away from poverty.
A Home-building Industry
In Kenya, 36% of people live below the poverty line. Nairobi alone is home to a quarter of a million people without a roof over their heads. Clearly, there is an urgent need for these people to have more adequate housing. Once again, microfinance may be the clear answer.
Sandra Pietro, global director of operations and financial inclusion at Habitat for Humanity, believes microfinance is a clear way forward to improve housing access. She believes that without it, “It could take up to two generations for people to build their home incrementally”. In areas where life expectancy is low, this means they will never reap the benefit of decades of hard work.
With microfinance, women in particular are able to access loans to build their homes. With loans as little as $50 USD, these women are able to increase their quality of life. After giving three guarantors, they can obtain the deed to their new property.
This is only the first step to a long process, but without the spark, no fire is possible. Current banks rarely serve the poor, and thus, they need another option. Microfinance, for a growing number of poor men and women, is that option.
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