In May 2013, Beyoncé was reluctant to call herself a feminist in an interview with British Vogue, telling them the word ‘can be very extreme.’ Too, some of her lyrics have been called into question – the irony of her instruction to ‘Bow Down Bitches’ after creating some of the best girl power anthems of the twenty first century was not lost on critics. (Independent Women, anyone?)
But no-one can deny the feminist credentials of her recent essay – Gender Equality Is A Myth! – on behalf of Shriver’s Report, which found that 42 million women in the USA are currently living in poverty or on the brink of doing so.
‘We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality’, Beyoncé wrote. ‘It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half the U.S. Workforce, but the average 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 voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.‘
Her essay was published alongside those of many other influential and famous women such as Hilary Clinton, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Eva Longoria.