Gender: Taking Action

Can we hope for equal pay between women and men in the near future? Will the recent sexual abuse scandals in Hollywood have an impact on gender inequality? We address the challenges that women face in our contemporary societies; the resistance of sexist values and frameworks today in the workplace, at home, or in public spaces and the many initiatives, locally and globally, to act upon these challenges and transform society from within.

Great Expectations by Allexa Dunn

As a woman, I am continually interested in considering the roles that women need to fill in their daily lives. This project started as an investigation of these roles and the way womanhood has been defined and developed in the last couple of generations. The three women interviewed here explore these roles in the workplace and in other societal setting. With their help, I slowly began to develop a wider definition of what it means to be a woman in society today. Hearing their testimonials, I became increasingly interested in how women’s roles have changed and developed. Despite the First and the Second-wave feminism in the late 19th century and in the early 1960s in the United States, women still struggle for equal opportunities in every aspect of their lives. In the workplace and at home, women need to overcome many obstacles to define for themselves who they are and what their role is in society. The norms imposed upon them and the way people view them has developed into an overall definition of womanhood, which very often contradict with their own perception of it.

Through the testimonials of these three young women, I began to investigate what other women my age believed to be the definition of womanhood, and how their views have been shaped through their own histories and their families. It has become clear that even just from this generation to the generation before, the definition of what it means to be a woman has developed slowly from something much more conservative and submissive to something more modern and powerful.

I began by asking each woman to recall her most prominent childhood memory. Each woman immediately had a vivid picture of who they were as a child, and they all shared common themes of happiness and innocence. From there I interrogated each woman about who their biggest role model was as a child, and if they believed that now they might share some common characteristics with the person they idealized. Interestingly, and despite the evolutions of women’s rights from one generation to another, each interviewee named their own mother as their biggest role model, and believed or at least hoped that they were developing some of the same qualities as young adults. Each woman used common themes of strength, confidence, and boldness to define their mother. This led me to a central question, in relation to these themes: “Do you consider yourself as a woman or a girl?”. All interviewees described themselves as women, not because of their age but for their qualities, according to what they believed it means to be a woman today. This short film clearly demonstrates that these women take ownership of their role in society and choose to define themselves as women. Through their interviews, I wished to express the different ways in which womanhood is becoming a more dominant force in society in general.

Persistent Women: Share Their Stories (More)

How can we solve a problem if we don't fully understand it? Gender discrimination is the biased treatment of someone based on their gender, which happens to women in the workplace—a lot. The stories on this website exhibit the intricate nature of gender discrimination in the workplace, which must be recognized if we are to end this pervasive issue. Sharing stories invites us to feel and challenges us to learn. These are their stories—these are our stories.