The feminist movement aims to end gender inequality perpetuated by the patriarchy which places men in a position of superiority. Women are oppressed and exploited on a worldwide scale in a number of ways including, but not limited to, the following: Women perform 66% of the world’s work, yet receive only 11% of the world’s income, two thirds of children denied a school education are girls, and gender-based violence is the biggest cause of injury and death to women worldwide.

These kinds of statistics are even more shocking for women of colour. The average American woman earns only $0.77 to every dollar that the average American man earns. Black women in the US earn only $0.62 to every dollar earned by a white man in the US, while Hispanic women earn only $0.52 to each of these dollars. Feminism, therefore, is an important aspect of anti-racism, and vice versa.

Women are constantly objectified by the media, and oppressed by society’s beauty standards which claim you only qualify as a “real” woman if you fit into this narrow ideal. Misogyny and gender stereotyping perpetuated by the patriarchy also oppresses trans people. Trans misogyny and transphobia are serious issues; 1 in 12 trans people are murdered for being transgender, trans women can be held in solitary confinement in a men’s prison, and 1 in 5 people are refused medical care due to being transgender – because they do not fit into the patriarchy’s gender stereotypes. Violence, oppression, and discrimination based on sexuality as well as gender is also carried out against those who do not fit into the patriarchy’s heterosexist ideals. Queer liberation should clearly be of great concern to feminists in the struggle against patriarchy.

Gender stereotyping perpetuated by the patriarchy pushes the idea that men must fill a “macho”, protective role, and restrict their emotions, while women must act as care givers and sexual objects. Anyone who does not fit into either of these gender roles is likely to experience some level of discrimination. You need not identify as a woman to be a feminist or understand the importance of the movement.

Oppression by the patriarchy does not stop at humans; ecofeminism is the result of many feminists finding links in the way both women and the Earth are exploited by the patriarchy. Ecofeminists believe that women have an important role to play in the struggle for the liberation of the Earth due to their close relationship with Nature. Neither women or the Earth will be free from oppression until the patriarchy is dismantled.

Animal liberation is often also seen as an important aspect of feminism. Much like the way ecofeminists draw parallels between the exploitation of the Earth and women, many anti-speciesist feminists perceive links between the exploitation of non-human animals and human women by the patriarchy. Female animals are abused by humans on a massive scale in order to exploit their reproductive systems. Dairy cows, for example, are kept in a near constant cycle of being forcibly impregnated, giving birth, experiencing the trauma of their child being kidnapped from them, and then having the milk they produced for that child stolen to be consumed by humans, before they are yet again impregnated. Feminism, therefore, is integral to the fight for the liberation of all animals, both non-human and human.