So, this past Saturday I graduated from college, or at least the first part of my college career.
At my college's commencement speech we were told to pay attention to our big speaker because she was a "woman who made it." I don't declare myself to be a feminist, but these words bothered me.
Had it been a man up there speaking would he have specified the gender? There's no way to really know, but from my experience, he probably wouldn't have. It bothered me that because this person was a woman, that it was all of a sudden necessary to specify the significance of her gender - as if it made it more important.
In my graduating class 63% of us were female. While, it is not overly significant it meant that the majority of the people sitting beside me were of the female gender. The fact that this was a number that was being thrown around at all bothered me also.
Why is it necessary?
In my head, the very fact that it's being mentioned is a part of the problem.
I believe in equal rights for every person across the planet. I don't think women should be treated any different than men, and that includes how we are displayed in college commencement speeches. The woman standing before us is not a woman who made it - she's a person who made it. That's the significance that should be displayed.
The very fact that it is 2014 and we're still mentioning gender like it's a playing card IS the problem.
Your gender is not significant. Your drive is significant. Your intelligence is significant. Your perseverance is significant. What gender you are shouldn't even be worth mentioning - we are people who are doing people things.
I am not a woman who graduated from college. That doesn't make me special. I am a person who graduated from college that happens to be a woman.
Until we stop labeling ourselves this will always be a problem. We need diversity in more ways than just culture. We need diversity that everyone can find themselves in regardless of what these people keep telling us.
We are important because we are people - and that should be the end of it.