On “Flawless,” a track from Beyoncé’s excellent new self-titled album, there’s a sample of the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie giving a TED talk about feminism. That was a sort of bat-signal that Beyoncé has been thinking about feminism lately, but it’s still an awesome surprise to see that she hasn’t just been thinking about it; she’s been writing about it at length. Maria Shriver’s new Shriver Report study is called A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back, and it includes essays about women in America from people like Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, LeBron James, Jennifer Garner, and Jada Pinkett Smith. Beyoncé’s piece has the extremely zine-y title “Gender Equality Is A Myth!” Here’s an excerpt.
We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.
Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.
We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.
The entire Shriver Report is downloadable as a free Kindle ebook; head over here to get it.