Blerta Sejdija: Beat Sexism
I hesitated a long time before starting up something like this. The subject is irritating to many people. This world has belonged for a long time to males and for most of history, anonymous was a woman. Yes, we are talking about discrimination based on sex in another sense, sexism. My name is Blerta Sejdija and I am the founder of “Beat Sexism”. I must mention that my background is Albanian, therefore I come from a place where women were suppressed and to this day many are. The point of this project is to show people that sexism is a problem. It is faced by women every day and it is a valid problem to discuss. My desire to do something for the society has always been a goal since I was a little girl. Because of my curiosity, I very quickly became introduced to our society, cultural aspects and the issue of remaining inequality. I found myself in conversation after conversation with classmates, friends, family, and relatives. I commenced questioning of all the women in the society. I realized that by remaining silent we allow for the continuing persecution and abuse of women. Due to the rise and dominance of social media in the 21st century, women and girls worldwide have been given a new voice that has never been heard before. We need to unlock the potential of women and empower them, and that’s the aim of Beat Sexism.
People question feminism in the 21st century and I find it rather saddening. Telling women they should have left earlier, worn something else, said something else, said no, said no louder, screamed to avoid being abused is just respectability politics for feminism. This is the right moment to remind some men that privilege makes you blind, you think something is not a problem because that problem doesn’t address you personally. Also, do not get me wrong, because when I say that privilege is the reason of not understanding the need of feminism, I’m not saying you don’t have any problems, or have never experienced hardship. I’m saying you do not have specific problems that come from a particular form of oppression. Look for where your privilege intersects with somebody's oppression. That is the piece of the system that you have the power to destroy.
In December 2018 it will be exactly 2 years that I’m actively contributing with Beat Sexism to the fight for equal rights. Beat Sexism expanded really fast and now is present in 20 countries worldwide. Because many activists wanted to join Beat Sexism, I decided to establish, the so-called “Beat Sexism Clubs”. By joining these Clubs activists empower both people in their own communities and adolescent girls and women in developing countries to rise up. Besides being an online movement, we also provide legal advice. It is important that women understand the law and their legal rights. Through our free and confidential legal advice, we helped many in need through the law.
I am an International affairs and diplomacy student. I was born and raised in the Czech Republic but my background is Albanian. Even though I don’t live there, I am really passionate about my country and its history and I try to contribute there. I am also really passionate about women’s rights, which is why it got to the point when I decided to create my own movement. Since a very little girl, I always had dreams of making a change or influence people in a good way. I didn’t know exactly how, but I knew that in some way I will. Besides activism, I, of course, have other interests. I enjoy reading, especially philosophical books. Thanks to Simone de Beauvoir & Sartre I turned into an existentialist. Existentialism makes you realize that “life isn’t meaningless”, in fact, it is too meaningful for you to let it pass you by, like a movie, with you as nothing but a passive observer. I also love painting and art generally, I’m a huge fan of classicism, impressionism, and surrealism. Because politics is something I am interested in, I take parts in different debates and summits that prepare young people like me to enter the world of diplomacy.
As I mentioned I am Albanian, and women in the Balkans are still marginalized. However, I was raised in central Europe. When it comes to equal rights in central Europe we’ve definitely progressed as a society. Women do have more social, political and economic rights than ever before – nonetheless, we still have to deal with the harmful side effects of gender inequality. I once received an e-mail saying, that women are subordinate to men in many cultures and I have to respect their culture and not criticize everyone who treats women unequally. Fact is that culture doesn’t make people. People make the culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.