End the duopoly

Equality won’t be accomplished until every woman can feel safe

Being a woman is scary. Men, I’ve found, are often privileged in their unawareness of the constant safety concerns women experience.

I once heard someone say men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women, on the other hand, are afraid men will kill them.

We live in a world in which women have the freedom, technically, to do everything men can do. In reality, however, women are often limited by parameters concerning physical safety, and, consequently, there are many things women “can’t,” or won’t, do.

Women can’t walk around alone at night without some kind of self-defense device, such as pepper spray. Women can’t travel alone, especially in certain countries where women do not share legal freedoms with men.

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Women have to be careful to not anger men when rejecting them for fear of physical retaliation. Women have to share their location with their friends before going on a date in case something goes terribly wrong.

Women lock their cars as soon as they get in and often check the backseat before leaving. They avoid renting first-floor apartments, avoid giving men their last names for fear of stalking and never wear headphones when going on runs.

We, women, have many more considerations to make in our lives about safety than men. And, what’s worse, many men may not realize their actions, while harmless in nature, may be perceived as threatening to women.

Guys, when you’re walking at night behind a woman, give her space. When you get into an elevator with a woman, don’t stare at her (I can’t believe I have to say that, but trust me, it happens). The little things men may not notice can make huge differences in women’s lives.

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