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When Beyoncé released her latest album last month, her beliefs about feminism and gender equality were prominently woven throughout her songs. One of her standout tracks, “Flawless,” even included a clip from writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk on the issue. Now the singer is once again speaking out about the topic, this time through an open essay written for a new installment of Maria Shriver’s Shriver Report.
We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.
Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.
We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of the voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.
The book, titled “A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” will be available to download in full on January 15, and will also include pieces from Hillary Clinton, Jada Pinkett Smith, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Sheryl Sandberg and more.