Nothing Without a Woman or a Girl

May 2, 2021

Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Anna Bernsteiner speaks up and speaks out on gender inequality and empowering women. Cautioning against complacency, she reminds us that we still have a long way to go.


“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” started playing on the radio when I was driving through the city yesterday.


I laughed. In disbelief. The dash screen said: written in 1966. Today, 55 years later, these words still make perfect sense.


It’s still a man’s world.


I started thinking back to a history class a couple of years ago when we were discussing women’s rights. A fellow classmate responded to the teacher, “Women already have so many rights in comparison to the 20th century. We don’t have to overdo it and ask for more.” 


One-hundred and nineteen countries have never had a female leader.  

There are only 21 female heads of state or government at the moment.

Poland has imposed a near-total ban on abortions. 

Countries such as Iceland, France, the UK and Germany have been working on laws to decrease the gender pay gap, yet a noticeable difference remains. Women in France and the UK, for example, still earn 15.5% less than men. 

Women in Saudi Arabia were not allowed to drive until 2018 and still have to get permission from a male relative regarding travel, marriage or health procedures.

Women are more likely to be killed in car crashes because the safety features are designed for men. 

One in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence in their lives. 

Over 650 million women alive today were married as child brides.

Only six countries give women equal work rights under law. 





Are we really asking for too much? Or is the world just so used to women being quiet, underpaid, powerless and excluded that speaking up is too uncomfortable?


Here is the thing with power: giving it up is indescribably difficult. So in order to keep it, protests and people seeking change are said to be radical, a threat. Groups that fight for women’s rights such as Feminists want equality for all, same as Black Lives Matter wants equality for all. It just happens that power is still in white male hands. And giving up this superiority that has been around for centuries isn’t an easy thing to do. 


I have been reading and listening to a lot of people talk about Feminism, women’s rights, toxic masculinity and gender equality, and I have noticed how deeply rooted it is in our society. 

A lot of it is subconscious. I don’t believe the majority of people try to be sexist. It’s learned behavior. 


From a young age, we are taught that it’s not okay for boys to cry or that girls shouldn’t be angry. The fact that boys talking about their feelings is not masculine and girls are too emotional is old hat. And yet we keep associating these things because of how our parents raised us and how they were raised. That’s exactly why many people fear Feminism: they connect strong, angry women with the Feminist movement, and society has taught us that angry women and girls are supposed to be punished. 


Empowering women and raising kids with a belief that everyone is equal is so important. Only when everyone is taking part will misogyny and racism be eliminated. 


And what does empowering women mean?


It’s about speaking up when we notice behavior that isn’t right. Raising awareness on the topic. Teaching children about gender norms and their consequences. Helping to uplift others. Educating yourself on the topic and, like me, discovering many deep-rooted “normal” behaviors that are actually not normal at all. 


Now I want to point out that by empowering women I mean everyone, including trans women, women of color and women with disabilities. 


As James Brown says: it’s a man’s world. It still is. And it will continue to be if women and men and non-binary people won’t come together and stand up for equality.


How do you support gender equality in your own life? Inspire us with ideas in the comments section, or discuss these important issues in person with a supportive group at a Low Entropy Conscious Connections session.

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