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The 21 Things Women of the 21st Century Should Know

Women are creatures perfected by the universe, living under the same sun, sleeping by the same moon, and are to be celebrated as such. “How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?” (Anais Nin). We live in an age where we not only deserve to go after what we want, but in actuality we’re doing women everywhere (past, present, and yet to be) a disservice by not rocking the boat for fear of a ripple in the water creating a wave. After all, “...women [are]... rational creatures [and] none of us want to be in calm waters all our lives” (Jane Austen).


1. That they are beautiful

Beauty is not defined by creases of laughter at either corner of wise eyes, the round, gentle curve of a sun-kissed and freckled arm, the wave of a russeted thigh, baron or blossoming landscapes, nor by the preservation of innocence.

2. Their right to say no

Women are not beholden to their parents, to their significant others, to their children, to their employers, or to any other figure of dictation than their male counterparts.

3. That they are worthy of respect

Never should a woman be made to justify her own mistreatment. There is no basis for disrespect in terms of gender. Women are equally capable of making valid points, have the right to be heard and should absolutely and utterly recuse any entity that means to make her feel otherwise.

4. That having a daughter is a beautiful thing

To those women who wish to have children but pray to God that they may not have a daughter I sympathize with you. However, whether she is your biological daughter or simply a bundle of joy in a pink blanket swaddled next to your son- it is your job to protector her like your own.

5. The unspoken sisterhood

As women, we are born into a contract that forces us to fearlessly protect one another and I would have it absolutely no other way. There is something so beautiful and raw in what we share and while the odds in many ways may be stacked against us, there is no stronger force that unites two people than that of an unspoken understanding. Every woman, regardless of your walk of life, has the capacity to discern and sympathize with other women.

6. Their right to pursue their own happiness

Independently of societal expectations of traditional gendered goals. An unmarried woman, who at birth was labelled a Michael, with children is no more or less accomplished than a woman that is married to another woman, a woman that rejects marriage and reproduction, or a woman who aligns with cultural “norms.”

7. Their worth in terms of men

Relationships with men, a woman’s sexuality, the number of partners she has had, whatever the context may be- women should never define themselves based on the standards of a single man or even a whole group.

8. The validity in their individuality or the legitimacy of their womanhood

No woman, under any circumstance is obligated to compare herself to other women. The beauty of the human race lies in our diversity and never should we, as women, be dictating how another woman lives her life, nor letting another woman dictate the way we see ourselves. As women it is our job to lift one another up.

9. That they are capable

Women are capable of achieving any and everything that they are given the opportunity to. There’s absolutely no doubt that the present day political climate and historical context surrounding gender favors one over the other. So even if we do not directly achieve the feat we so wished let us strive to add another rung to the ladder and pave the way to, if not achieve the total to make it even easier for the next woman who wears her ambition on her sleeve.

10. Their strength

There are so many different kinds of strength- mental strength, emotional strength, physical strength, et cetera. However the most important strength any one of us possesses is that there is strength in numbers. Let’s use this unique combination of all of our skills to benefit the majority of the so called political minorities. We are stronger together, and too often there are schemes to pit one woman against another. Let’s cheer each other on in our relationships, our career goals, our friendships, our hardships, in politics.

11. That success is undefined by stereotypes

Women need not pressure themselves to feel that they are successful only after they have found a male partner that fits a very specific societal ideal, followed by marriage, children, a beautiful home, a promotion for her spouse, a secretary job until the kids get out of school *cue a list of stereotypical cliches.*

12. Nor that goals are gendered

Going off of the last point. We need to support women who have spoken out openly against societal norms and has admitted that these are not her wants. As women, it is not our job to convince her that she will someday change her mind or that she just hasn’t met the right partner yet. It is our job to lift her up and expose that women are diverse and are not somehow an item to which can be limited to a box of simple minded ideas.

13. That age depreciates a woman’s dignity

Women are free to age as they wish. Time does not lower the worth of a woman any more or less than it does a man. Time does not discriminate and we should reject any societal policies that aim to create a narrative of an unforgiving divine force on the bases of inferiority.

14. That they are not a commodity

Women cannot be owned. While attempts to control us may be made, we are resilient we are courageous, we are strong. At the end of the day we lay our heads on our pillows feeling a little bit stronger in knowing we are still true to ourselves. There is not a thing in the world, or a price to high that would let a woman forfeit her spirit. Her body, a few tears, the things that are superficial- but she can always get herself back- to find her authentic self- and if the road seems to steep and narrow, it is our job to create a network that empowers her and to support her when she’s ready to begin such a journey.

15. That their feelings are valid

Let no one ever dismiss your emotions on a basis of your gender. You know your reproductive organs and gender orientation have not a thing to do with your ability to rationalize a situation. The brain is an organ independent of expectations and refuse to allow anyone to make you believe otherwise.

16. Or that physical attributes are anything more than surface level

Women are not defined by their always evolving bodies. Love your body, cherish your body, worship it like a temple. Your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters. One rejection of your body or even a couple million is no reflection on you. It’s small minded ignorance that tries to place weight on a person’s appearance in the context of their character.

17. Their women’s intuition

Trust your gut. Never let a man, or otherwise, convince you that what you’re feeling is in your head and has no basis. If the situation feels off, you see someone who looks like they might want a little help or whatever the scenario might entail you can trust yourself to intervene, to back out, to speak up for yourself and what you feel to be true.

18. Their right to make distinctions

Women are often looked at as those who are nurturing to children, and while not all women may identify with this perception, and rightfully so, it then becomes our job to correct misconceptions we hear children personifying.  Sitting ideally by we contribute to the problem. Never is it not right to look out for future women.

19. Their right to speak their mind

Never should a woman question her right to speak out against injustice on a basis of her gender. Never should she feel that she is not worthy of being listened to or taken seriously. Women are often doomed based on their appearance regardless of how they choose to present themselves. This superficial ideology can only be dismembered through a total embrace of our unique individuality while uplifting the originality of all other women.

20. That they are not divinely inferior

Women are not inferior, period. Our mental, emotional, physical, social, and all other struggles  should absolutely never be discredited, nor should we be made to question our worth or capacity in absolutely any facet of our lives. We know we’re strong and capable and we should, under no circumstances, ever, settle to be convinced by toxic blindness otherwise.

21. That equality is not intangible

Tradition has absolutely no bearing on the future. Women’s marches of today will go down in the history books of tomorrow. Just as it is very difficult for us to imagine a past that totally forbid women of their basic rights, with young women just as yourselves pioneering and paving a path that is a bit easier than your own for women yet to come, they will continue the fight until inequality is a distant part of an ugly history. Regardless if we will ever see it, we can continue to weaken the glass ceiling until it rains down and the sky truly becomes the limit for women.


So from one ambitious woman to another: always the best.


“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

-St. Catherine of Siena





Hey ladies! My name is Chrystal - I'm an English & General Human Ecology dual major at SUNY Oneonta! I love being involved in our community, both on campus and otherwise! I love writing - about any and everything; hanging out with friends; hitting around a volleyball; traveling (especially, the northeastern coast); and, more or less, playing interior designer on anyone that will let me! I look forward to writing articles that reach out to individuals of a variety of backgrounds, who are struggling with the same kind of issues in a diverse number of ways, while providing my perspective on the things that matter most to me. I'm excited to start my journey here as part of a sisterhood that empowers women in both their strength, as well as in their vulnerability.
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