Beyoncé is a grown woman, which means she’s begun to lend her voice to important causes.
For a long time, Beyoncé’s only public cause was BEYONCE!, which consisted of dancing and singing all over the world without ever really giving opinions about non-entertainment issues. Even her involvement with the First Lady was mostly just more dancing. But as anyone who listened to last month’s Beyoncé knows, Queen Bey has clearly decided the time has come to get a few things off her chest that aren’t sparkling bustiers — which brings us to her new short essay.
The Shriver Report is a “groundbreaking investigation into the millions of women who are doing it all and barely scraping by…It combines research, analysis and ideas from the nation’s top academic institutions and think tanks, essays by leading thinkers, stories of real women struggling with our modern economy, and a comprehensive poll,” commissioned by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress. In addition to everyday women and expected participants such as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg, included in the 400-page report is a brief essay, “Gender Equality Is a Myth!,” by one Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.
“We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet,” Beyoncé writes. “Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”
Sure, these statements are pretty basic – but since they haven’t been achieved yet, it’s only helpful to have one of the biggest entertainers in the world proclaim them as well.
“These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning,” she continues. “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. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
Hear that, Blue Ivy?
Fans can see similar sentiments expressed in her new song, “***Flawless,” which features audio of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, “We Should All Be Feminists.”
The best part of Beyoncé being involved with feminist work is the publicity it generates — if you didn’t before, now you know the Shriver Report and Adichie’s TED talk exist. You can listen to her talk here, and you can read all the essays and findings from the Shriver Report for free online until Jan. 15.