I spend much of my time immersed in various forms of activism: feminism, environmental and climate issues, social justice, workers’ rights, animal rights, and general politics that’s it’s easy to forget the positives. Luckily though, a colleague reminded me that right now really is the best time to be alive. She didn’t say that it couldn’t get better–or worse, for that matter–but she did point out that ultimately, we are so much better off in so many ways that we need to cherish that. And as a young woman of colour, she’s right. In the not-so-distant past, my colleague could have been enslaved, raped, or killed with impunity nearly anywhere in the world. And while women–particularly women of colour–still face everything from inequality and objectification to systematic oppression and violence, we are generally better off now than ever before.
While I’m writing this as an economically, socially, and racially privileged woman (I’m moderately well-off, well-educated, white, and a dual US-UK citizen), my colleague is less so. Though she is not poor or uneducated, she did not have the advantages I am so lucky to have. And I don’t know if that makes her more or less qualified to be happy with her current lot in life. But I do know she’s right. For all the problems we face, as women, as residents of various countries, as humanity, we are better off than we were. That doesn’t mean that we can’t do better. We still need to fight for better treatment, more rights, cleaner air, and safer places to live. But it does put a new perspective on what we’re fighting for: making sure the next generation of girls can say the same thing as my colleague: this is the best time to be alive.
Girl New International