We do not exist – The Counter

I often hear within the discourse for gender equality that women are half of the population of the planet. And I must say that it had always seemed a bit obvious to me to remember something that we all have or should be clear about. 
However, after reading Caroline Criado Pérez in her book “The Invisible Woman” I became convinced that this seemingly obvious phrase is far from it. Being seen as half the population today seems to me more a utopian and distant dream than a current and palpable reality, and why? Because women do not exist in the representations of today’s society. 
Inequality of representation is not only in decision-making and leadership positions, it is in every space of our lives: in politics, in the world of work, in leisure, culture, in education and in the media, just to mention a few of our absences.
For example, women do not exist in cinema. Only 27% of roles with dialogue are for female characters, according to a study by scientist Amber Thomas. And women only account for 17% of crowd scenes, according to a study by the Geena Davis Institute.
Women do not exist in children’s television. Only 13% of non-human characters are female, according to a study by the German entity IZI.
Women do not exist in the media. Only 24% of people heard, read or seen on radio, newspaper and television are women, according to the Global Media Monitoring Project. And when women are in the news in 7 out of 10 publications we are represented exclusively as housewives, according to an investigation by journalist Andrea Ortega Carreño.
Women do not exist in school textbooks. Women only represent 7.5% of the appearances in compulsory education subjects, according to the largest study on the presence of women in school textbooks conducted by Ana López-Navajas. And numerous studies in various countries of the world show that men on average are 3 times more mentioned than women in the sentences of examples of school textbooks. 
As Simone de Beauvoir herself said long ago: “the representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; They describe it from their point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth.” Likewise, Caroline Criado Pérez states that women do not exist or are invisible in today’s world because the vision of man – that of half of the population – has been taken as the vision of the human being, that is, that of complete humanity.
And this brutal absence of women in the current representation of society has profound impacts, one of them is on girls. The masculinization of what is shown as “the human being” and the evident absence of women referents in all social dimensions is making girls dream less than boys, that they live the so-called “dream gap”.
What does this look like?  According to data from UN Women and The Dream Gap Project study presented by Mattel, at age 5 girls stop dreaming that they can be presidents, scientists, astronauts, great thinkers or engineers. By age 7, girls are more likely to believe that boys are more capable than boys for math or science tasks. In addition, 9 out of 10 girls between the ages of 6 and 8 associate engineering with male skills.  How are we going to ask girls to dream of being agents of change if today’s society does not show them female role models?
Because we do not exist in social representations and in the vision of the world is that in this new 8M millions of women and girls in the world will take to the streets to remember that we do exist. Let’s remember the logical, but utopian idea that we are half the population. 
Follow us on

The content expressed in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of El Mostrador.

Original source in Spanish

Related Posts

Add Comment