By: Mary Beth Wighton, Person with dementia
Date: February 26th, 2017
I can remember when I was young being called a Feminist. I wasn’t too sure what the
word meant, but it was said in a context that made me think it was a “dirty” word. So, of
course I denied it. No, I wasn’t a Feminist!
And then when I was older and knew what the word meant, it still had a “dirty” word
feeling to it. Once again, I denied I was a Feminist – BUT, I did believe in equality of the
sexes! Somewhere along the way, the definition of feminism for me was not a word of
empowerment but rather a radical, risky way to describe oneself. And then for women who
did say there were feminist a nasty group of people ususally called them a “bunch of
It was/is complicated as a young woman to find the inner courage to stand up for herself
and act in a manner that is respectful and self-loving. Women in management and
leadership roles, including myself, have had to deal with off-coloured comments about our
management styles. If a man acted in the same manner, there wouldn’t be such comments.
I now say I am a Feminist – and I say it proudly. The definition of a feminist has not
changed since I was a young girl. It is I who has changed, matured and have grown
confident in my own beliefs. It still is “A feminist is a person who believes that men and
women are equal (though not necessarily the same), and should be entitled to equal rights,
equal treatment, and equal opportunity.”
Over the last few months, I have watched in fascination and awe, the world coming
together and rise up! On January 21 2017, over three million women boarded buses and
took to the streets in the United States. Across the world, women followed in an incredible
movement with the message: women matter.
“We the people” has taken back its meaning and refers to all people regardless of sex, race,
religion, and sexual orientation. We are once again at a moment in history where the
people have had enough and are rising up. The Women’s Marches around the world is
one of power and unison. It is a reminder for all of us that we can make a difference – we
just need to keep adding more people to the cause.
It is also the time to teach our young ones, regardless of sex, that feminism is not a “dirty
word” but one of power and pride. Teach them young.
The time to stand up for our human rights has never been greater. Feminism is just one
component of it.
Copyright 2017 Mary Beth Wighton