I am Angela Yu, a doctor and programmer. I built a coding education company that has taught app and website development to over 60,000 students worldwide. I’ve worked as a woman in two male-dominated fields, programming and surgery so I’ve been very interested in your questions. Thank you for being curious about a really important issue and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!
Do you think that women being oppressed over history about equal rights could have lead to the beginning of feminism?
From: Sparnosaur12 | Graveney School
Right now, we’re living in a part of the world and in a time period where women have more equality than ever before. This is mostly down to all the hard work done by previous generations of women who felt oppressed. One of the biggest movements of this type was the women’s suffrage in the late 1800s, where women were campaigning for the simple right to vote. Just think about how unequal it must be, if even the law tells you that as a woman you’re not able to determine who governs your country. So we’re already standing on the shoulders of giantesses who have fought for gender equality.
Now, of course there’s a lot more that still needs to be done. And this is what modern feminism is trying to address - the more subtle forms of gender inequality. So I think you’re right, any group that has been isolated and oppressed over a long period of time, will eventually lead to revolt and efforts to try and establish more equality.
If you could stop one thing about gender inequality, what would it be?
From: Red123 | Crampton Primary School
Now, while we could talk all day long about all the things that needs to be addressed in terms of gender inequality. There are parts of the world where the situation for women is far more dire than in the west.
As a doctor, one of the most serious forms of gender inequality that I have encountered are young girls who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). In parts of Africa and the Middle East, there are young girls who don’t even have a right to decide what should happen to their own body. So if I could only change one thing then this is the issue I would want to address.
"For anyone who feels that they have been treated unfairly, the best thing you can do is to empower yourself by getting more skills, abilities and knowledge. This will then allow you to set your own boundaries."
Angela Yu, Doctor and Coding Bootcamp Founder
Why, in films, are people more inclined to like male characters rather than female characters?
From: Onicyclops | Boutcher Primary School
I want you to think back to all the blockbusters that have come into the cinema recently. Do you remember a film where the main character was a girl or a woman? How many conversations did she have with another girl or woman? These are in fact some questions that are in a test called the Bechdel test, which roughly measures how much gender inequality there is in film.
So I’m not sure it’s true that people like male characters more than female ones. The truth is simply that there are less films that feature women in a main role. But the ones that do, for example Moana, Gravity and Amelie have really awesome female characters.
Why do women get lower pay on the same jobs as men???
From: ? | Michael Faraday Primary School
This is a very complicated question and there is a lot of debate around this issue. For certain jobs, for example working as a doctor or a nurse, the pay is the same between men and women because there are standard contracts. But in other jobs, where the pay is more discretionary, the salary you get is often down to your individual skill set and how good you are at negotiating. Even men who work the same job, in the same company with the same number of hours get paid differently. So we all need to become more assertive about our own value and negotiate the pay that you think you deserve. There are very few thing that are completely fixed in the world.
It is unfair how women are treated compared to men but do you think that men think that it is just life?
From: Beauty | Boutcher Primary School
For anyone who feels that they have been treated unfairly, the best thing you can do is to empower yourself by getting more skills, abilities and knowledge. This will then allow you to set your own boundaries on how you allow other people to treat you. Also, you can be the change you want to see in the world, if you see someone being treated unfairly, you can always stand up for them and make the world more in-line with how you think it should be.