My activist project during the semester was to set out on an attempt to spread awareness on inequality regarding gender within institutions and workplaces in the United States. Over the course of completing my project, my actual focus changed several times. Initially my goal was to look at inequalities within the legal system. I changed this focused because I felt it was too narrow and I changed it to focus on a broader scope of inequalities within the United States. This issue is important mainly because it displays inequities in the United States; where people are discriminated against simply because of their gender. This robs those, particularly women in the work place, of being fairly compensated or acknowledged for doing the same work as men. Just as importantly though, highlighting this issue helps to bring attention to it which is the first step in fixing it. The key thing to realize is that this inequality means that no matter how qualified or successful a woman is; she will still be at a disadvantage simply because of her gender. This is an issue that needs to change.
I stated in my proposal and reflection; that my plan was for my project to bring awareness to these issues of inequalities through social media and the social networking site, facebook. The facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/genderandequality. I continued to do this for my project and it worked as a good way to put out information regarding inequalities particularly those related to the discrepancy in pay for men versus women. I felt I was partially successful because I did what I set out to do which was provide people with a medium to learn about what current issues related to the topic of equal pay. One thing that didn’t work as well for me was getting a large number of followers, this was made difficult by the fact that I didn’t have a facebook page beforehand so I created one solely for the purpose of my project. This made finding supporters more difficult than if I had already had an online account on the site with numerous followers; that wasn’t the case though as I was basically starting from scratch with no prior online connections. If I had to do this project over again then I would have started off by making more connections and trying to connect with more people online. I feel that this would have broadened the impact of my project and allowed more people to be affected by it. Another thing I would have done differently had I had the opportunity, is I would have organized my plan for the outset more thoroughly. One thing I learned from this project and the course of gender and women studies, is that successful activism isn’t usually an accident. They are the results of careful planning by those who participated with in them. I feel if I had planned better what my project was going to be from the beginning then it would have been a much smoother process to complete.
This project changed my relationship with activism because it broadened my scope on what constitutes activism. Beforehand I would have though activism has to have a protest element to it or some form of demonstration. However; after completing this project, I realize that activism doesn’t have to involve a conflict. It can be simply organizing with others to try and improve some aspect of society. Another area this project changed my perception was when it came to what it takes to be an activist. As at the start of this project, it was my belief that an activist needed to have some direct connection or experience related to the issue they were addressing. Now I realize that isn’t the case, I can engage in activism as I did with this project without having a connection with the issue. As long as one observes an area that needs changed and they understand that they can make a difference, then they have every right as anyone else to help fix the issue. That’s what activism means to me at its core, it’s simply about acting to make a change. One general thing that I’ve learned about activism from completing this project is that it is best when one works with others. Working alone limits one’s influence, when people corporate and work together then that enhances the affect that any one person could make.