Inspired to Advocate

Inspired to Advocate

Katharine Murphy

I struggle with self-expression and have internalized humility in a very extreme sense of the word. Growing up, I was taught to listen to others without involving myself, to put my priorities aside when others had it worse, and to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable with my concerns. I recognize the same phenomenon happening all around me: people finding themselves either hesitant or unable to stand behind what they believe in. It's about time we pull everything out from under the rug.

For too long I was in denial that gender had anything to do with one’s social or economic status. I had always thought that people of all genders were capable of achieving the same things on the same scale. That was until I took a course called Economics of Gender, getting to the bottom of economic inequality of genders.

It was then that I learned that gender inequality is accumulated. Whether it's having children, feeling pressured to participate in the tradition of marriage, losing years in which one could be building human capital, turning down job offers out of fear of being unqualified, choosing to not negotiate salaries, more flexible work schedules, or time off - the list goes on with the causes remaining incognito.

I think it’s hard to understand how we perceive ourselves in relation to other people. I think the ideals of being a female are internalized in a very confusing way, manifesting differently in each person. Being male or female is true only to the extent that one identifies as such and untrue on behalf of the human tendency to categorize people. Beyond gender, I believe that dropping people into categories of race, age, class, ability, etc. is one of the most dangerous ways to systemically give privilege to certain people and deteriorate others. And for this reason I believe that self-identification is one of the most effective ways for people to empower themselves and those around them.

By way of this blog and the empowerment I feel within it, I hope to communicate ideas in a way that others find compelling to hear, or even respond through their own initiative. So far, the bloggers and staff members at Women’s Fund of Rhode Island have inspired me to try new things and entertain new thoughts consistently. And I’ve always found passions to be contagious.