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.

(via Pitchfork)

The entire Shriver Report is downloadable as a free Kindle ebook; head over here to get it.

Comments (17)
  1. I mean, yeah, duh, and stuff. I don’t think she said anything that’s news to the ears about the issue nor did she really offer much of a solution other than “We need to fix it!” and expect it all to just go away at the snap of a finger.

    Maybe it’s because of my age, but I don’t know a single person in my generation who would believe or think it would be right that women are making less than men. Bey needs to take some advice from Oprah who, when addressing racism, said that in order for racism to end, all of the old racists just need to die. Same goes for gender equality: Until all of the senior alpha males croak and go away, gender inequality will unfortunate be alive in some form.

    I really can’t relate to any of this either: All of my bosses, managers and execs at the places I have worked for over the last decade of being in the work forc have been women doing quite well for themselves, deservedly so. Maybe it’s my industry, but women seem to move up the ladder just as quickly — if not, more so.

    • “Maybe it’s because of my age, but I don’t know a single person in my generation who would believe or think it would be right that women are making less than men.”

      You clearly haven’t seen some of the MRA/Red Pill blogs and forums out there. There are some seriously messed up ideas gaining a disturbing amount of traction.

      • The fact I have no idea what either of those blogs are / refer to / their acronyms mean tells me I surround myself with some level-headed younger people who don’t look to the Internet to tell them how to think.

    • since everything in my immediate field of vision seems just swell, our society as a whole surely must be free of problems, right?

      no. i agree that she’s saying things that most intelligent, rational humans would readily accept as truthful, and also agree that she’s not offering any real potential solutions, the fact remains that there is a vast portion of America that really doesn’t get this. and Beyonce, as arguably the world’s foremost pop star, has a platform to reach people that you or I wouldn’t reach. we’re young, we’re (presumably) forward-thinking, and we align ourselves with others of that ilk. so will we ever really be able to help enlighten people who hold regressive, offensive views about gender? probably not, but she can. so cheers to her for at least trying.

      also, the senior alpha males might die, but their ideas will linger. racism is mainly ingrained into the minds of children through their lineage, and i assume it’d be similar for any type of archaic, backwards thinking. that’s why it isn’t good enough to just bank on the fact that it’ll all be better when the old racists/sexists die. these ideas have been around for thousands of years, you think they’ll disappear overnight with the passing of one generation?

      • I’ll say this and risk the chance of sounding like an asshole: Having done by time in the unemployment line only to return to the job force where I’m very, very, very frustratingly underpaid at least $10k less than I should be, but have to suck it up because jobs are still few and far between, I can both empathize with the situation and yet also feel like saying, “Big fucking shit. I’m dealing with it, too, and here I am the stereotypical average white male who is supposedly absolved from salary inequality.” When I hear someone like Bey talking about this, I’m just like, “Lady, you have no fucking clue how the other half even lives, female or male…”

        tl;dr: I’m a male and I’m underpaid, and apparently, I can’t relate to anyone else out there in the world with my situation.

    • Well yes …you are right , it’s in the procedure of changing ..but it hasn’t changed yet ( speaking globally)
      Just think about what is happening in the eastern world . Even in my society sexism is present everywhere..
      And about solutions…she says that we should teach and raise our kids properly , without prejudices on the sex.

  2. nothing beats discussing gender equality on stereogum message boards but……. the biggest reason there is gender inequality is because a large portion of women still work in traditional female professions – nursing & teaching. We don’t pay these professions because as a large they aren’t respected either because of the profession or the gender of the person performing them. We live in country that doesn’t care about education or its health so inherently this inequality exists. Maybe if the millionaires in congress started respecting the work of the women that took taught them in school or the nurses that wiped their baby ass things would change, but unfortunately they only listen to multi-national corporations.

    • Just want to start off by saying that I have more male friends who are teachers and nurses than I do female friends doing those jobs, so again — I can’t relate to that sentiment. I’m also not sure if the reason those jobs don’t pay as well is because they’re stereotyped as female jobs, but rather that the demand for them isn’t as high as they once were a few years ago.

      In the late 90s / early 2000s, they sounded the alarm that they needed teachers. So all of a sudden, these kids in college began pursuing teaching degrees because it was a safe bet that the jobs were there and they were offering nice incentives to take them, such as 100% reimbursement and salary bonuses to get your Master’s. A few years later, the market was over-saturated with more new teachers than there were jobs, and hence, the going salary rate decreased in value. The same exact thing happened in the mid-2000s when they sounded the alarm for a need for medical professionals. Nurses, x-ray / radiation techs and medical assistants were the low-hanging fruit that were easiest / safest to obtain (with again, ample monetary perks and reimbursements for education / certification) so again, a large number of college students pursued those careers, but here we are in 2014, and not as many places are eager to fill those positions.

    • Last time I checked nurses get paid pretty well, so not sure I’m following you there.

      • wow you guys are giving me lots of credit for ideas that aren’t mine. Google can help, google the glass escalator.

        And if you dont believe traditionally held female jobs exist, look at this data.

        I know some nurses make good money, and I also know men that teach but it doesnt change the fact the majority are female and are paid considerably less. Are they paid less because they are menial jobs, because their is no demand for it or because the powers at be have traditionally paid these jobs less because they were traditionally female jobs?

        But again GUYS, thanks for solving the problem.

    • To Nick’s credit, self-selection into traditionally female careers is an established sociological factor in the gender pay gap. Nursing might not be the best example anymore, because it does tend to pay more than the median household income. Teaching is better, as it is predominantly female and (most people agree) under-payed. Better yet, though are service sector jobs, particularly domestic ones (cleaning, childcare) that are overwhelmingly female and pay poorly.

      That being said, there are a whole host of other issues contributing to the pay gap like the interruption of careers for childbirth and socialization factors that can lead women to be more timid in salary negotiations. It would be hard to say there is a “biggest reason” for gender inequality.

  3. Yikes, Beyonce is a terrible essayist.

  4. Maybe if she didn’t grind, half-naked for fully clothed men and roll around in sheets pining for her man, she would be in a better position to talk about gender equality.

    It’s good that such a high profile star is addressing this but she really needs to look at the messages SHE is putting out as a ‘role model’.

    • “BUT YOU CAN’T CRITICIZE A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO BE SEXUAL!” – everyone downvoting you

      The most boring part about the gender equality debate to me are the people who think in order to combat it, women need to be as publicly sexualized as they believe men to be. But the problem with this is that it’s based on a huge stereotypical that all men are scummy, neanderthalgic, sexual predators sticking their hard dicks into anything that moves and it’s okay to do that because they’re men.


  5. The real Beyonce:

    “Getting money, divas getting money
    If you ain’t getting money then you ain’t got nothing for me

    Tell me somethin’ where your boss at?”

  6. In summation: “Driver roll up the partition please, I don’t need you seeying ‘Yonce on her knees.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2