2016-11-09 / Opinion

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Should Bono Be Included As A “Woman of the Year”?

In its yearly list of “Women of the Year,” Glamour magazine included a man for the first time. This choice has caused uproar on the internet, specifically among women’s rights groups and those who feel that the mere act of including a man in a list of extraordinary women who dedicate their work for women goes against the point of the list and is, in some way, misogyny at work. Other critics of Glamour’s choice have painted the decision to include a man on a list of women who have achieved remarkable gains for other women as counterproductive and, in some cases, in direct opposition to the cause of gender equality.

Glamour explained their decision by praising Bono’s creation of the “Poverty is Sexist” campaign, which highlights the link between poverty and gender. The campaign works to provide assistance to the world’s poorest women and to counter the effect that gender has on poverty.

In the past, the publication has avoided including a man on their list, despite having qualified candidates, because “men aren’t exactly hurting for awards in this world.” Quite true. Men have been winning awards for eons, for accomplishments great and small. To my knowledge, however, few men have won an award that recognizes their work for women and their effort to bridge the gender gap and to attain equality for a minority group.

While on the face of the issue, including a man in a list of women who have made amazing strides for other women seems to go against the very purpose of making such a list. However, the push for gender equality strives to create a level playing field. Why should Bono be excluded from the list, simply because he is not a woman?

There is no question that women remain unequal in so many ways – here, in Delaware County, nationally and worldwide. On the whole, women earn 21.7 cents less for every dollar that a man earns. One quarter of employed women in New York state work in low-wage jobs – a fact that further inflates the number of female-head-of-households in the state who live in poverty.

In terms of safety, an issue that affects all women, almost 20 percent of women are raped and over 43 percent of women experience sexual violence in their lifetime. More data is available at

Without question, gender equality continues to be a major issue throughout the world and a lot remains to be done in the effort to ensure equal treatment for women. The vast majority of women experience some form of bias on a daily basis – whether unrecognized or intentional. Women are talked over, mans-plained at, derided, ridiculed and discounted – every day. The fight for equality should continue and should be on the forefront of the minds of both men and women. Innate or unrecognized bias should be examined and thoughtfully addressed. Women are not asking to be coddled, not asking for special treatment. They are asking for equality – sameness. To be seen as equal to men, to stand on the same level and to be recognized equally for the same achievements.

In the same token, men should be treated the same as women. In this particular case, Bono should be recognized for his efforts to correct gender bias and inequality around the globe. Including him in a list of people who strive to make the lives of women better was a good decision and, in itself, furthers gender equality.

-Abby Butler is a Staff Reporter at The Reporter

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