In response to RestintheShade
Here's the link if you want to see the argument RestintheShade originally posed
Author's Note: It got too long for me to use as a comment on the forum, so this is why I had to upload it.
All right, what you have brought up here is a valid point about equal rights, why the feminist movement started and the goals of the movement. Basically we're all about equality, something we have had to fight long and hard for over a long period of time.
However, the first point I'd like to talk about is your 'opportunity of advancement' point. Yes it is true that as a movement we have made gains in the areas of work and education, but now we must look at feminism on a more global scale. There are many countries out there where girls aren't allowed to go to school, which is a denial of a basic human right according to UNICEFs Convention on the Rights of a Child, Article 28: "All children have the right to primary education." Whilst it is a basic human right to receive education, UNICEF even states that its main focus is on girls “the largest group excluded from education.” Now I can understand if you try and explain that UNICEF is a human rights organisation, not a Feminist one, and you’d be right. But I believe the impact of feminism has indeed opened eyes to global issues. Yes, I realise that boys are missing out on education, but in this situation it is mostly girls who are missing out. Now, I believe women in the western world making gains in education have impacted the way we see education globally. From something that was originally a privilege, to now being a basic human right. Now through all this waffle you may be wondering why this is important. People assume that because women can vote, start careers and do all sorts of things that there is no need for feminism. What they don’t realise is feminism is still needed in the first world, if we want to impact the third world.
A current issue in America is surrounded around female reproductive rights. Now why this is important in the first world and even the third world may seem hard to follow but bear with me. I am personally pro-choice, and I believe there should be several measures in place to keep women from being coerced into either abortion or having the baby. I think the final decision should rest with the woman, but if there’s a partner involved she should take his opinions into consideration. Now, you may wonder how problems over Planned Parenthood, and a debate how disregarding contraceptives and Planned Parenthood interferes with women’s rights, but coexist with religious rights. Firstly, contraceptives, recently there was a lot of debate about taking the pill off the American PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme), which well for one cuts a lot of women off from the contraception. Luckily this didn’t happen, in fact now employers have to cover the pill under health insurance in the US. Now what would be a male equivalent of this? Taking condoms off the market. Yep, I think I heard several men shudder at the suggestion. Even then the pill is seen as something that is a right as a woman, not only does the pill help to prevent pregnancy, it’s used in a range of medical issues, such as menstruation. So with the idea of contraception I think it is a fundamental right for a woman to be allowed access to it. Now, when it comes to abortion this is where things can get shaky. This is one of those areas where you said feminism is “in danger of losing”, but it’s not endanger of losing because it got what it came for. But what impact does the first world’s challenges over abortion rights on the third world? On the 31st of October last year we hit seven billion people and there’s more coming. My first point I mentioned education, many studies have shown that higher education is linked with lower fertility rates. It’s not that people can’t have children, it’s just that with education choices about sex and child rearing are more planned, and with the access to contraceptives in the first world limits population growth, without compromising the new sexual freedom women are allowed to experience. A good example of where contraception should be needed is Indonesia, at the moment the country has nearly 240 million people. During the 1970s, whilst under the dictator Suharto, women in Indonesia were given free contraceptives, access to health care, access to rigorous Family Planning and an awareness slogan ‘Two Children is Enough’ all of which has stopped population growth by at least 60%. Now in democratic Indonesian the slogan is changed to ‘Two is Better’, something that applies a different meaning from the previous slogan. In a piece by Al Jazeera English (Indonesian: Bursting at the Seams) they interview a poor woman form Flores village, named Martina Maling, who has six children, but only wanted three. She wants injectable contraceptives but they are not free. Such a thing can be covered by health insurance in many first world countries, but when that is challenged in the first world, the attitudes of other leaders are challenged, making it less and less likely for women, like Martina, to have access to the contraceptives she needs. It is my belief that without feminism issues such as contraception would not have been brought to the fore, and as demonstrated contraception could be the answer to the massive population expansion happening in the world today.