Today’s sexism—from widespread violence and degrading ideas to inequality at the workplace and unpaid labor at home—reaches into every corner of our lives. Women’s oppression stems from the nature of our deeply unequal society, and a system that needs to divide and conquer in order to survive. People of all genders are fighting back! Grassroots mobilizations against sexual assault, victim-blaming and attacks on our reproductive rights are providing a glimpse of the potential to build a new movement for women’s rights.
From Egypt to Yemen to Madrid, women are demanding a place at the forefront of struggles for democracy and economic justice. Sexism in our society leads to multiple negative outcomes for women. Although traditional therapeutic approaches as well as preventive interventions address the specific negative outcomes of sexism, they rarely utilize a social justice approach. The deleterious effects of sexism occur complexly; sexist interpersonal events often occur within family systems that may endorse traditional gender roles, which exist within a societal and cultural context that contains formalized sexist policies. These multifaceted, ingrained circumstances delineate the need for preventive social justice to address sexism on multiple levels.
As our society continues to evolve, with the advancements in technology, so does sexism and discrimination. It is just molded differently to accommodate our modern day society. Women do two-thirds of the world’s work for only five percent of the income, according to Unifem, the United Nations Development Fund for women. Today young women across the world grow up to expect less educational, economic and political power than their male counterparts. Half the world’s citizens, women in the 21st century still only represent a tiny minority in democratic assemblies. Domestic violence, civil wars and international conflicts continue to destroy women’s freedom, power and security in particular. And yet women find themselves systematically excluded from international diplomacy and peace discussions. Women’s rights may be enshrined in human rights declarations and egalitarian constitutions around the world, but in global terms of power and independence they are second class citizens.