In honor of Women’s History Month, Aggies are encouraging men to act as allies and help the women in their lives fight sexism.
Though much progress has been made on the journey to gender equality, there is still work to be done. Women experience maltreatment from discrimination to sexual assault, causing many to take safety precautions like parking under streetlights, carrying pepper spray and holding keys between their fingers to use as a method of self-defense. These things have been second nature to many women since they were young. Now, women are calling for men to act as allies instead of contributing to the problem.
One woman, whose message was anonymously shared in a post by Mountain, sait it is important for men to listen and not rush into fixing without understanding.
A similar sentiment was echoed by materials science and engineering senior Haley Jones, who said it is important to recognize the differences between the lives of women and non-women.
“I think a lot of people just don't understand but may be willing to listen about problems women face,” Jones said. “Men should listen first and take action second.”
Although she does not experience sexism daily, Jones said it is important to recognize that experiences differ from person to person.
“Just because one woman doesn’t have a problem with sexist actions doesn’t mean that all women won’t,” Jones said.
To combat the effects of sexism, Jones said she generally acts more rigid around men.
“I dress modestly even in the summer, lock my car as soon as I get in and look in the back seat, which I keep all the way down [as a] further precaution,” Jones said.
Political science sophomore Amorae’ Shamberger said she has experienced sexism throughout her life more often than not.
“Since I am a political science major, I've had men tell me that women don't belong in politics,” Shamberger said. “I’ve also been told that if I wear something fitted, I would be causing guys to come up to me.”
As a career-driven woman, Shamberger said she has dealt with men who believe it is a girl’s place to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, instead of an independent provider.
“In response to this, I like to join areas or conversations that are male-dominated and assert myself,” Shamberger said. “Physically, I also carry a taser and pepper spray just in case.”
Shamberger said men can be better allies first through educating themselves on the experiences of women.
“[They] can educate themselves by doing research or even asking their friends who are women [about] what they have experienced to gain insight on a woman's perspective,” Shamberger said. “Men should advocate for women and stand up when they see their friends engaging in sexist behavior.”
Mountain’s post emphasized the same concept, advising men to speak up when they hear another man saying inappropriate things.
“Choose to be an ally because it’s the right thing to do, not ‘as a father/husband,’” the post reads.