Being a Feminist

Being a Feminist

THE MAINSTREAM often has this image of feminists as a bunch of mustachioed; shouting until hoarse; man hating women. However, the reality is far from this stereotype.
Most of the feminists I know, Yours Truly included, are ordinary, feminine women, with ordinary, feminine characteristics. We wear make up; fall in love with that macho man who might turn out to be a cad or who might turn out to be gender sensitive; we cook for our families and friends with a great deal of love and attention; we menstruate for Heaven’s sake! We also get deliriously happy or absurdly low just like the rest of the human species. What makes us feminists is our passion for gender justice.


What makes a person a feminist could be defined in several ways:

  •  A feminist is a person (male or female), who supports equal Rights for both men and women
  • A person who gets offended by the portrayal of gender stereotypes and gender roles in the media both mainstream and social media
  • Gender specific tasking annoys you because you feel that for both men and women, the sky is the limit and that there should be no ceiling as a barrier for men and women to reach their ultimate capacity and potential
  • You admire role models who could be male or female. You even select mentors from among men or women who inspire you.
  • You question when men are paid more than women for the same job. You scan the selection of civil servants and evaluate the ratio of men to women. You lobby for more female representation in Parliament and in Councils. You write and petition for affirmative action towards women for positions of decision making. You rejoice when women break the glass ceiling in Parliament; in the Cabinet of Ministers; in Councils; in the Civil Service; in the corporate world; in the Judiciary; and in law enforcement.
  • You avidly and consistently focus on advocacy for law reform; for Policy enforcement in matters relating to justice -from Gender Justice; to Economic Justice; to Health Justice; to Reproductive Justice; to equitable distribution of resources and opportunities.

This is not too much to ask for, is it?

“Together We Can Make it Happen”

Leila Sheikh

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Comments (3)

  • Frank Mdimi Reply

    These are indeed quite good and inspirational thoughts. Redefining gender roles and developing or implementing gender sensitivity in most programmes is important in order to ensure we all have a balanced society socially and economically as well as ensuring that the youngsters grow up understanding, appreciating and leading their life in a manner that value gender equality and differentiate gender roles from biological sexual roles.

    October 27, 2016 at 4:50 am
    • Leila Sheikh Reply

      Thank you for your thoughts Frank.
      It is indeed important to have men as stakeholders in gender justice.
      Leila Sheikh

      January 3, 2017 at 6:12 pm
    • Easter Reply

      Thanks Leila for this beautiful artical…this clarification on feminism needs to be amplified through different media to reach more people so they can have the right interpretation about feminists.

      November 28, 2019 at 11:39 am

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