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Intersectional Feminism in the Workplace

            Feminism in the workplace seems to be taking on a simultaneously more and less important role. Mass feminism movements have made great progress in bringing gender inequality with regards to wages and promotions, as well as sexual harassment in the workforce, to the top of the agenda. However, at the same time, such issues are being dismissed and being deemed insignificant in comparison to other, more urgent social justice issues (like police violence towards racial minorities). So while feminism movements have gained momentum, the momentum has yet to materialize itself in the form of actual, feasible success.

            With movements forward for things like the Women’s’ Marches we’ve seen spring up across countries around the world, on the surface it looks like feminism is moving forward, and in a positive way. In no means demeaning the great work that’s been done by these kind of protests, with regards to things like validating women’s’ needs and struggles, there are still significant problems facing with regards to the things these movements bring up, and the things they don’t.

            Catchy phrases and slogans like “pussy power” and “keep your rosary off my ovary”, do a great job of allowing women to reclaim the objectification of their bodies. Not only are they witty phrases that easily spread and thereby quickly affect the media, but they also hold a lot of important underlying messages, with regard to physical autonomy and reproduction rights. So what are the problems with these kind of statements, and how is this at all related to feminism in the workplace?

            The first, and I’d argue, most important (even though it’s the least related to feminism in the workplace), issue with using physical sex characteristics in pro-women marches and movements, is the exclusion of trans and non-binary people. Feminism and pro-women movements were created, and continue to gather momentum, in order to raise awareness about gender inequality in a way that improves inclusivity and equality. In this regard, it goes against the fundamental principles of feminism to exclude and discriminate against a specific group of people, whether it be intentional or not, and not creating a space in which they feel safe to join the narrative and movement.

            The second aspect, which will explain why I believe the usage of physical sex characteristics as a mechanism to propagate feminist movements is detrimental in the pursuit of equality in the workforce, is the further objectification and sexualization of women. This objectification is one of the primary reasons why sexual harassment still exists to such a vast extent in the workplace. By allowing themselves to be demeaned and represented through mere objects of physical and sexual significance, women are essentially devaluing themselves as actual assets to the workplace.

            It’s far from ideal that women and women’s movements are so easily devalued by men and those with privilege, but it is an unfortunate reality with which we have to accept and address in order to truly attain equality, not just in the workplace, but in every realm of society. And this equality cannot be attained at the expense of excluding members of the trans or non-binary community. Feminism is a movement for equality for all, and its success is quantified by creating a society in which all are viewed and treated as equals, with dignity, appreciation, and respect.


Jina Aryaan is one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief of Her Campus UToronto. She is a fourth year student pursuing a major in Sociology, and a double minor in French and Latin American Studies at the University of Toronto. She has been working with Her Campus since her first year of University, and she is also highly involved on campus through various other leadership positions. When she's not busy studying, you can catch her running around campus to get to her next class or meeting. When she has some spare time, she's likely busy writing, discussing politics, or spending quality time with friends and family.
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