#DoingItAll

Beyonce: Women must 'demand' equal opportunities

Jan. 13, 2014 at 5:51 PM ET

Beyonce Knowles-Carter wrote the following essay for "The Shriver Report," published in partnership with Center for American Progress and focusing on women in economic peril. Maria Shriver is reporting on these challenges with her TODAY series, #DoingItAll.

Image: Beyonce
Lucas Jackson / Reuters

We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. 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.

Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. 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.

We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.

This piece is an excerpt from "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Pushes Back from the Brink" in partnership with Center for American Progress and was originally posted on ShriverReport.org, a digital destination aimed at inspiring conversations that modernize America's relationship with women. You can download the full report at ShriverReport.org.

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