Relationships, Culture & Society

Collaboration with a Purpose: Dedicated to Women – Issues Women Face Today


My apologies for being late with this post! I’m still pretty much suffering from a burnout (for anything in general, including writing), so it took me longer than usual to write such a long post. 😅

A few days ago I announced this month’s Collaboration with a Purpose theme, which is Dedicated to Women Worldwide and falls on International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day 2018
Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
~From International Women’s Day

One might wonder, why do we even need to celebrate International Women’s Day? Don’t we already have gender equality today? Sadly, that’s not the case. As much as we would like to believe we have gender equality today, there are still a lot of discrimination and stereotyping in our society. 🙁

To be honest, I wondered if I should even write about issues women face today. I prefer to write more about positive stuff on this blog – I feel there are already enough negativity in this world, so why add to it?

But eventually I realised; focusing more on positivity doesn’t mean we should ignore the negative. In order to help bring about positive changes, first we need to be aware of the issues that are already happening, isn’t it?

So I decided to write this post for awareness, the first step to bring about positive changes to the world, dedicated to women worldwide. 😀

(Some of the) Issues Women Face Today

I know, I know, everyone faces some kind of issue or other, not just the women, but seeing how this is for International Women’s Day, I wanted to highlight some of the issues that women face today! Don’t worry, I’ll eventually write the men’s edition later this year, when International Men’s Day come about. 😀

Note: You might see a lot of this icon [❣❗] after a hyperlink – this icon means “highly sensitive people, beware!” If you’re highly sensitive, like me, some of these articles may be a little too disturbing to read; even I was feeling quite negative as I got to the end of this post. 😶

Disclaimer: Some of these may cast men in a bad light, and that isn’t my intention! These issues tend to happen more in a woman-man encounter, but that doesn’t mean all men are bad. (If I think so, would I even be married to one? 😆) Just because some people decided to be jerks, it doesn’t mean everyone is a jerk!

With that done, let’s get on with the list!

Women are Stereotyped as Shopaholics, Make-Up Experts and Shoe Collectors

Whenever there is an icebreaking session that involves questions about hobbies, the following happens:

  • Someone: “What do you do on your free time? Shopping, I suppose.”
  • Me: [raised eyebrow] “No, I play video games.”

Or, whenever there’s a need for others to use my car:

  • Someone: “Wow, I don’t see any shoes in your car! They’re all in the boot, I suppose.”
  • Me: [raised eyebrow] “No, I don’t hide shoes in my car.”

These people didn’t have the gall to ask me about my makeup-less face (they would have gotten another raised eyebrow if they did), but I’m sure they’ve all wondered why (I dislike makeup).

Yep, this is a really popular stereotype. But not all women are shopaholics, makeup experts and shoe collectors, or even any of the above!

For the record, I happen to be one of those who really dislike shopping, really dislike putting and having makeup on, and can’t be bothered to start a shoe collection. And I studied IT and programming and play video games as a hobby, something many considered to be the men’s department. 🎮🖥⌨

Women are Expected to Smile All the Time

The social expectation is that women are supposed to be smiling. All the time. Some (especially older men) even take it upon them to “correct” any women who aren’t smiling by approaching them and saying, “Smile!” or, “Why so serious?”

I may happen to be more of the smiley type, but even I would have felt the urge to rebel and frown if someone did that to me. 😑

Why is it so bad to ask a non-smiling woman to smile? What if the woman just lost a loved one and couldn’t smile? It’s like a stranger walking up to a balding man in the train and say, “Hey, you’re balding, why don’t you wear a wig?” It may seem helpful to the one saying it, but what if the balding guy is losing hair because of chemotherapy?

It’s an infringement of privacy, no matter how “helpful” it may seem to the approaching stranger.

However, the problem with the “women should always be smiling” expectation is that it is also happens in the working world, as this article from The Atlantic [❣❗] explains. Doesn’t it suck when you’re rejected for a job role just because of a stereotype? 🙁

Women are Expected to be Nice, Accommodating to Requests, etc

As a woman, we’re always taught to be nice. If something we dislike occurs, we’re supposed to swallow it and pretend to go along with it as not to ruffle anyone’s feathers. Sadly, this is pretty hardwired in me as well, as I’m conflict avoidant and can’t seem to come up with the right words in the heat of the moment – but I certainly have a lot to say about it afterwards! (Of course, only to my husband in a private setting, where I could be rebellious without consequence. 😆)

Of course, this brings about a lot of problems for the women. This post from Captain Awkward [❣❗] (one of my favourite advice blogs to read!) tells about separate instances on how (male) strangers react when the (female) author didn’t want to have a friendly chat on the train, and a lot of comments on that tells similar stories of various horrifying degree. I feel bad for them, yet glad I live in Asia where people generally (I say generally because there are creeps everywhere) leave each other alone. 😶

Yet, in the workplace, women get the short end of the stick whether they’re nice or not:

Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. When a man is successful, his peers often like him more; when a woman is successful, both men and women often like her less. This trade-off between success and likeability creates a double bind for women. If a woman is competent, she does not seem nice enough, but if a woman seems really nice, she is considered less competent.
~From Lean In: 7 Tips for Men Who Want To Support Equality

Between a rock and a hard place. Now what? 🙁

When Women Say No, It’s Supposed to Mean No But Often It Doesn’t

Have you ever consumed a romance media (movie, book or others) where a man asks a woman out, who says no, and then he continues to pursue her, asking her out again and again, and eventually she agrees and they both become a romantic couple, rewarding the man’s persistent behaviour despite the woman’s repeated no? What about dating articles that talk about women playing hard to get, where apparently women say no to interested men so that he’d try harder?

A common story I’ve read around the internet goes like this: a man tries to pick up a woman at the bar. The woman, who is single but isn’t interested in dating, says no. The man persists, refusing to accept the no, until the woman says, “I have a boyfriend.” That’s a problem, because the man in this story doesn’t respect the woman’s stated wishes to be left alone, yet he backs down only when he finds out the woman “belongs” to another man. 🙁

Sounds like fiction? Not only it’s a common occurrence worldwide, things could go badly pretty badly when a woman says no, with the man escalating to verbal abuse like this story from The Odyssey [❣❗] or worse, like this article from The Sydney Morning Herald [❣❗]. 😦

Many Women Don’t Feel Safe Alone in Public

It’s difficult for a woman to feel safe in the public. One could sit in a bus and be hit with a barrage of dirty jokes [❣❗], only to be told by the others, “Boys will be boys,” or “Don’t be so sensitive.” One could ride the train and risk being groped, where bystanders will not help. One could take a walk through the park and be cornered by men, obviously not with good intentions.

Personally, as a woman, I don’t feel safe being out alone in the public, especially at night. As a woman, I’ve always been taught to be careful of being followed,  etc and take precautions – like making sure I keep an eye around me when I walk, or never leave my drink unattended – to make sure I’m safe whenever I go out. As a woman, I was taught to remember there are always men out there – that are stronger than I am and could overpower me in seconds – with not-good intentions, and that I could become one of the statistics in the newspaper at any time.

Of course, this is rather generalising for the men – just because one guy becomes a creep doesn’t mean all others are creeps – but it’s because of these few that a whole lot of women don’t feel safe. 🙁

On the Bright Side…

Whew, I think I’ve gotten a bit more negative after writing about all those issues, so let’s switch it up and have something positive this time – gender equality may have a long way to go, but it’s certainly progressing!

Back then, women’s role used to to raise their children while their husbands worked, when a career woman was unheard of. Today, one is as likely to find a woman in an office as a man.

Back then, books was all written by men, and a book written by a woman is unheard of. Today, one can find shelves upon shelves of books and all kinds of works by both genders.

Back then, some roles were exclusively for men (such as engineers and scientists) and some for women (such as nurses and teachers). Now one can find both genders in any kind of fields, even househusbands instead of housewives.

Progress may be slow, but it does give one a slight feeling of hope, doesn’t it? 🙂

Crushing Patriarchy Isn’t the Solution – Gender Equality Is

Sometime earlier this year, as I was reading up about feminism, I stumbled upon the idea of extreme feminism – “empowering women while aiming to crush patriarchy”. I couldn’t help but to raise an eyebrow at the thought, because it made me think of a fantasy war between a kingdom and a queendom to see which of the two is the stronger, like a war for dominance. 😶

We may still be in a patriarchal society… but is crushing patriarchy really the solution?

Nope, not for me! I think the solution is to empower women and to educate men, so that both genders are on par with each other. Also, gender equality to me doesn’t mean the exact same treatment for both, as some may think – I mean, the best treatment for one woman doesn’t mean the same to the next woman, much less a man. No, what I believe by gender equality is that both are on the same level, working with each other instead of one being below the other, to treat every individual as the unique person they are!

I believe awareness is the first step to a positive change, and I hope this will help bring that about. 😀

I feel like this post is different from what I usually write, though I hope you enjoyed it anyway! Do let me know what you think. ❤

~Nicolle ❤

A Short Self-Compassionate Letter

Dear Self,

This may be a different style from your usual posts, but it’s still great you wrote from your heart. 😀

Read More on Collaboration with a Purpose: Dedicated to Women

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25 thoughts on “Collaboration with a Purpose: Dedicated to Women – Issues Women Face Today

  1. I can also relate to feeling burned out, as I went through a similar experience myself. I think that it’s important to educate men and empower women.

    I really liked this line “…I believe by gender equality is that both are on the same level, working with each other instead of one being below the other…”

    It’s not about being above or below, but working side by side. And yes, progress is slow but it’s progress. More awareness and education is definitely the first step. Thanks for the insightful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome post, Nikki.

    I ❤️ how you bring up so many issues women face every now and then without necessarily making it all doom and gloom. Stereotyping sucks big time.If it were a person, it’d never be my friend 😂😂

    We all need each other and the earlier society respects that, the better for us all.
    It’s also a pleasure to meet fellow non-shopping-loving lady friends. 😛 My case might be worse off. I absolutely hate shopping (unless it’s for games😂🤭) For me, it’s mega boring. So even if I do go, I let my companions do all the buying while I just tag along.

    Thanks for such an insightful post. Sorry to hear about the burnout out though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Jainey, and I’m glad it not all doom and gloom! I was a bit worried it might go that way. 😆

      Haha, I feel that way about shopping too! Except I have the added bonus of being sensitive to fluorescent light, which is everywhere in a shopping mall. 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I could have sworn that I hit the like button when I first commented but it turns out that I didn’t (SQUIRREL! 😆😆)

        That’s why you’re the ALPHA twin of the two of us. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Stereotyping is a sad reality, people shouldn’t club all women to be the same or all men to be the same. Not all women like shopping or makeup or can behave like a wax doll. Same pinch, I like to play video games too and dislike the fake makeup look, you seem my twin sister. I think it is a harsh reality, “When a man is successful, his peers often like him more; when a woman is successful, both men and women often like her less.” We all must support women and educate both men and women because crushing Patriarchy isn’t the solution – Gender Equality is.
    Happy Women’s Day, Nicolle. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy belated Women’s Day, Sadaf! ❤️
      Yes, stereotyping is sad and reduces unique individuals to nothing but a general idea. 🙁
      (And hello, video gaming twin! 😆)

      I agree we must support women and educate both men and women, and with women like you, I think we have a brighter future. 😀
      Thanks as always, Sadaf!


  4. Nice to finally hear from you, Nicolle! The issues you presented here are really interesting. I don’t like shopping too. I buy clothes, shoes, or things as needed, and not on a spur of the moment. I hate people stereotyping women. Women can do everything now, what’s left for men to do? Haha, just kidding. We still need men like they need us. I just think we need to respect each other. Respect begets respect. I have high respects for men especially those I look up to – my dad, uncles, grandfathers, and good male friends. It’s just too bad we encounter some men who look at women as a commodity or an object.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad you found this interesting! Nice to know a fellow non-shopping-loving woman friend. 😛
      Yeah, stereotyping sucks, not only for the women but for everyone else. I agree we all need to respect each other, and there are some respectable men in my life too. 😀


  5. This is very insightful, Nicolle! I’m sure it took forever to write! I’m sorry about the burnout. I get it! You bring up some great points that make you think. The men pursuing a woman after a no is an interesting one.
    I found this collaboration topic harder for me to post about than I thought for some reason because I didn’t know what angle to come from. It didn’t flow as natural for me, but you went for it!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Ipuna! Haha, I did go for it, though this topic was certainly harder than usual to write; I wanted to bring up the issues women in general faces, yet in such a way that it doesn’t make our world sound so bleak. 😅
      I’m happy you find this post insightful though! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved this, Nicolle! Thanks for getting the blog up, as it’s quite insightful and also heartfelt.

    The thing about smiling hit home, as I have had that happen to me. I just don’t get it. Why should anyone care whether I smile or not? (As it stands, I smile a great deal of the time anyway, so if you’re catching me on a rare off day, why do it?)

    Also, the whole thing about how women are treated at work resonated, too, because my mother had something very odd happen to her. She worked at a mostly male office, and was doing a job (computer technician) that very few people of either sex did at the time. (She was one of the first-trained computer techs in the US, and her company trained her.) Anyway, these guys decided to put naked pics up of the most disgusting variety — the Playboy playmates would’ve been tame, by comparison, according to her — and when she complained, they told her to “suck it up” and that they “didn’t ask for her to be there.”

    Eventually, she transferred out.

    I don’t think a man would have to worry about women putting up pics of men’s private parts or the like, in order to humiliate them (or attempt to, anyway). And I don’t think most women would want to be bothered with trying to do that anyway.

    I don’t understand, at all, why these men were so horrible to her. (This was in the early 1980s, so it wasn’t the Dark Ages by any means.) They wanted to make her cry, I think, and she refused to give them the satisfaction.

    I wish she’d have filed a complaint with the government about it, to be honest, but she didn’t want to do that. (We have something in the US called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and to this day I believe she’d have gotten some relief there, had she decided to go. But it’s a very stressful thing, to do that, and it alienates you from your fellow workers even more, so she decided she’d just rather transfer out.)

    Anyway, great post! And thanks for writing it. I know it was harder than usual, but I enjoyed it immensely. Keep the faith, Nicolle. 🙂 You’re doing wonderfully.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Barb! I really appreciate them and am glad you love this post. ❤️

      Wow to your mum’s story! How callous of these guys to post those kinds of pictures, not to mention in a profession that was supposed to be progressive. I’m glad she transferred out eventually. 😦
      Yeah, if she’d blown the whistle on that, it may become more stressful than just moving on elsewhere. 😶

      It was certainly harder than usual to write this post! I’m the sort who is easily affected by negative stuff (which is why I stopped reading the news), and all these articles I referred to aren’t exactly very rosy. I’m glad I got it done though, and happy that you enjoyed it. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought it was a wonderful post, Nicolle. You did a great job, and I know it wasn’t easy to write.

        Just keep hanging in there. 🙂

        And yes, it was not easy for my Mom. I was disgusted when I heard about this (I was maybe fourteen at the time when she first told me about it), and I was absolutely appalled that anyone could behave in such a terrible way. But I suppose there are jerks the world over… also good people, though, too. (The trick is, how do we run into more people than just the jerks, y’know? ;-))

        Liked by 1 person

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