It may come as a surprise that I volunteer my time advocating for women’s rights. After all, I am a busy teenager busy with work, a full school schedule and sports. However, my interest began over discussions at the dinner table. In 2013 my mother told me about a book she read, “I am Malala”. This story about a girl’s fight for her right to an education really packed a punch with me. Besides learning about the history and politics in Pakistan, I am now a believer in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world. My eyes were opened of how much I take for granted every day: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the fact that I attend one of the best schools in the area.
Men, there is no way gender equality can be achieved without our involvement. Your sisters, mothers, aunts and women around the world are depending on us. We must come together to change our biased world.
So what can we do? I once read that equality is a verb. I love that. Encourage, share, advocate, and intervene. Expose yourself to different perspectives than your own. If you are serious about change, lead by example. Model respect for women. Don’t condone sexist jokes or stories. If you witness an injustice, be bold and say something. Avoid any behavior that causes anyone to feel diminished. Speak out when you witness others behaving this way.
This fall WAGE will be holding our annual 5K fundraiser. Come on out and support us in our mission to empower girls and women.
Men should want equality for all as much as women do. Improving women’s standards benefits everyone, not just women and girls. Everyone has a role in advocating: men, women, moms, dads, teachers, neighbors and leaders. Let’s banish harmful stereotypes and support human rights of all people, everywhere.
Matthew Meyer, age 18