by Rimsha Syed – Follow @BrownGirlMag
There I was, scrolling through my Twitter feed, hoping I could make it through ONE day without seeing something ignorant or demeaning. By no one’s surprise, that was a major fail because I came across a Tweet that required my full attention.
Let’s reiterate his question one more time so it properly sinks in:
“If women are equal to men, why can’t we see any female Plato, Aristotle, Einsteins, Newton, Bill Gates, etc.?”
He addressed this question towards feminists, so I, a feminist, will answer.
Shall we take a moment to rack our brains and remember some basic middle school history? The social status of women when Plato and Aristotle were roaming Mother Earth, was limited, to say the very least. Women were expected to be subservient to the will of their fathers and husbands and fulfill the role of household manager.
In early American history alone, higher education for women was not only highly frowned upon but something that could result in humiliation, ridicule, and even punishment. It wasn’t until women’s rights movement of the ’60s and ’70s that brought dramatic educational changes, but even then, it’s taken decades for women like Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Indra Nooyi, Sheryl Sandberg, and Bidhya Devi Bhandari to take center stage.
Patriarchy and gender roles institutionalized women from infiltrating the arena, which ultimately suppressed their knowledge, creativity, and skills. How were previous generations of women meant to master the sciences if men didn’t allow them the chance?
It doesn’t take a “male rocket scientist” to conclude that women weren’t given opportunities until recent times, so it’s ridiculous to say women haven’t accomplished as much as men have.
Despite the fact that society viewed educated women as “unnatural” and that it was near impossible for women to prosper with substantial accomplishments without facing challenges that men could never fathom, there are numerous female pioneers in philosophy, medicine, engineering, and beyond. Not to mention men have a history of taking credit for their work or creating unnecessary obstacles to stop them.
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Just because men have been deemed superior for centuries, doesn’t make a woman’s contribution any less important. Rewriting history in order to openly teach young boys and girls about women who have made a difference is a work in progress. If @TayyabMemon took the time to open up a text book and actually do some research, he’d easily see all the boss ladies that have surpassed the radical idea that there is a sex difference in intelligence.
Historical and modern female role models should be celebrated, thanked, and remembered, not tossed aside and underappreciated simply because their gender.
Just think, Rosalind Franklin is responsible for much of the discovery work that led to the understanding of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and it is widely debated whether or not she deserved more credit than James Wasson and Francis Crick.
Indira Gandhi, India’s third prime minister, brought about the dramatic change that improved the country’s poor and headed movements that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
Sarojini Naidu, a poet and activist, known as the “Nightingale of India,” was the first of many—the first governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh for two years, the first woman governor of an Indian state, and she was also the first Indian woman to become the president of the Indian National Congress.
Harriet Tubman, an iconic woman who escaped slavery but selflessly dedicated her life to saving other slaves, and now she’s the new face of the twenty dollar bill.
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Florence Nightingale is the founder of modern nursing. Amelia Earhart was the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
These women, along with more, have made substantial achievements and they will continue to despite the ignorant rhetoric that only men work hard.