Gender equality is natural for me, it is part of my freedom. But at the same time it is still everyday struggle for me to preserve it. I cannot say that woman in the Czech Republic (my home nation) neither in Georgia are equal to men. And even though I have never experienced any serious violation of my rights, slight inequality is still present in my life.
People around always tell me that I am too strict about gender issues, that I am radical. Usually because I don’t find chauvinistic jokes funny, I don’t appreciate men staring at me or I pay drinks in bar both for me and for men I am dating, because he buys cinema tickets.
Gender equality is my justification for not feeling bad in these situations. I don’t have to be glad and thank every man with comments pm my body. I don’t have to use more make-up and stop wearing glasses and thus becoming more pretty, as some men have suggested to me. I don’t have to laugh at chauvinistic jokes and pretend they are not hurting me.
Because I am not the sexual object, neither will I follow stereotypes about woman and beauty. I want to be free from these expectations which are occurring to me just because I am woman.
I also don’t expect men never to cry or have big muscles. I perceive every person through his or her heart and humanity, not through his or her gender. And I expect the same from others. This is gender equality for me, not only the equal access to education or right to vote for women. Gender equality also means the freedom from gender stereotypes and thus more freedom in general.
Eva Michálková is volunteer and activist from the Czech Republic who recently graduated with a degree in International Social and Humanitarian Work. She is currently working as an international volunteer at the Women´s Information Centre in Tbilisi.