ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Gender equality has been dominating the news lately, as celebrities from television to movies to the music industry have been asked for their personal stance on the issue. Their stance is part of a global movement; statistics report that in all parts of the world today, women are treated lesser than their male counterparts. In the Republic of Korea, 30 percent of pregnancies identified with female fetuses were terminated. In Guatemala, the number of femicides have almost doubled in just six years. While the condition of women varies per country, gender inequality remains an issue in many parts of the world. The feminism movement is helping to eradicate the inequality. Below are a list of 10 celebrities who have voiced their opinions regarding gender inequality.
10. Kerry Washington
Washington, recent mother and star of ABC’s hit show “Scandal,” embraced the feminist label as far back as 2007. “I do consider myself a feminist,” Washington said. “I mean, I love that definition, that it’s the whole belief that women are human beings and deserve equal rights, equal access.” Her “Scandal” character is a prime example of gender equality on prime time television today: feisty Olivia Pope, successful business woman and professional, takes no prisoners in Washington, D.C., while surrounded by a powerful male presence.
9. Mindy Kaling
Kaling, creator of FOX’s “The Mindy Project” and former “Office” alum, enjoys working in a respective atmosphere. “I work with people who love women,” she said. “That’s a nice thing.”
8. Zooey Deschanel
Despite her criticized “girlie” persona, the “New Girl” star regards herself as a feminist. “I’m just being myself,” she said. “There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful?”
7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Gordon-Levitt’s mother taught him about the media’s influence in propagating gender stereotypes from a young age. “We would always watch Lakers games as a family, but my mom would always point out every time the cheerleaders come on, ‘Okay, so look, here’s the story that gets told: The men get to be the heroic skilled athletes and the women just get to be pretty,’” Gordon-Levitt said. “I do call myself a feminist. Absolutely!”
6. Claire Danes
Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner, Danes, claims that things aren’t fair for women in Hollywood. “It’s hardly equal,” she said. “It’s wild that women are underrepresented [in Hollywood].”
Singing superstar Beyonce told British Vogue that she considers herself a modern-day feminist. “I do believe in equality,” she said. “Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman and I love being a woman. I do believe in equality and that we have a way to go and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept.”
4. Amy Poehler
The “Parks and Recreation” star has respectable views on gender equality. “The answer is yes, I consider myself a feminist, and it informs my work only in that it’s just who I am, in the same way that I’m a woman, or I’m 5’2″ or whatever,” she said. “I was lucky that I came through a system that had many people who did much more hard work and road-clearing before I got there.”
3. Ellen Page
Page, who is revered as one of Hollywood’s most ardent feminists, doesn’t understand why people are so “reluctant” to call themselves feminists. “How could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?” she said. “It’s how you’re treated, it’s how you’re looked at, how you’re expected to look in a photoshoot, it’s how you’re expected to shut up and not have an opinion, it’s how you – if you’re a girl and you don’t fit the very specific vision of what a girl should be, which is always from a man’s perspective, then you’re a little bit at a loss.”
2. Susan Sarandon
Sarandon’s views on gender equality differ a bit and might bring solace to those who associate the word “feminism” with radicalism. “I think of myself as a humanist because I think it’s less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident bitches and because you want everyone to have equal pay, equal rights, education and health care,” she said. “It’s a bit of an old-fashioned word. It’s used more in a way to minimize you. My daughter who is 28 doesn’t even relate to the word ‘feminist’ and she is definitely in control of her decisions and her body.”
1. Lena Dunham
Dunham is perhaps Hollywood’s most prolific (or, at least, vocal) feminist icon today. Her show, “Girls,” which realistically portrays women as sexual, professional and capable people, has received an equal amount of widespread acclaim and backlash from all sides of the spectrum. Dunham, however, remains vocal and adamant about the importance of gender equality. “Women saying ‘I’m not a feminist’ is my greatest pet peeve,” she said. “Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist. People think there is something taboo about speaking up for feminism. I know for a long time that I was embarrassed to call out misogyny because I was then going to be that complaining girl who can’t let it go. But the fact is, we can’t let it go – not until we feel like we have been heard.”
In a day and age where more hate crimes, rapes and murders are occurring all over the world as an act of misogyny, it’s important that celebrities and public figures speak up for gender equality and its ability to improve and save lives.
Sources: Hypable, Huffington Post 1, Huffington POst 2, Popsugar, After Ellen, The Feminist Wire, Advocates for Youth