By Shannon Carlin
Beyoncé doesn’t just sing about girls running the world, she believes it can one day be a reality. But only if we stop lying to ourselves about the state of equality in the world.
In an essay titled Gender Equality is a Myth! for the latest installment of journalist Maria Shriver’s Shriver Report, Bey—cited here as Beyoncé Knowles Carter—starts the piece by plainly stating, “We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality.”
In the short piece, Beyoncé makes it clear that the only way women will stop being paid only 77 percent of what the average working man makes is if both women and men speak up in support of equal pay.
“Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender,” she writes. “Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”
Some of the singer’s points seem influenced by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie —whose 2013 TED talk, which was dubbed “We Should All Be Feminists,” is weaved into Bey’s song “***Flawless” —including this notion that girls are taught at an early age that their competition is other woman, and that they all they are really competing for is the affection of men.
“We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life,” she writes. “And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
Bey is positive that we can see change, but both men and women will have to fight for what is right.
“We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together,” she writes. “Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.”
Stumping for all the hardworking ladies out there isn’t new for the singer. Last year in an interview with Vogue UK, Bey called herself a “modern-day feminist” and backed the idea of equality, saying that the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy, influenced her to speak out on behalf of the woman of the world.
Shriver’ report, which is titled “A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink”, includes pieces from Hillary Clinton, LeBron James, Eva Longorioa, and Sheryl Sandberg. Download the full report, including Bey’s essay, here.