Student Addresses Gender Inequality in ‘The Womanifesto’


SaVonne Anderson’s, FCLC ’17, “The Womanifesto” is out in May. (PHOTO BY PAULA MADERO/THE OBSERVER)


There are over 3 billion women in the world. Each woman, regardless of race or ethnicity, has to face the struggle of gender inequality. SaVonne Anderson, a new media and digital design student at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’17, prepares to release her book this May, “The Womanifesto”: a series of essays written by Anderson about female inequality, sexual harassment and personal experiences growing up with these issues.

It wasn’t until college that she found a passion for writing. Anderson said, “It was spontaneous, I knew I was always good with writing, but college really allowed me to get immersed into these type of issues. Especially being a black woman and in New York City, I saw racial and gender issues happening all around me.”

In addition to her city experiences, social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, became another big inspiration. “I started following pages on Twitter and Facebook of feminists, social activists and organizers. I learned a lot from these people, including Feminista Jones, Jamilah Lemieux and Goldie Taylor, who spoke about the struggles of women, black people and black women,” Anderson said.

The book’s subtitle, “Woman’s Proud and Public Declaration of Her Humanity, Freedom and Experience,” describes multiple messages. Anderson said, “Humanity, freedom and experience are three pieces of life that women are often robbed of. We are people with desires and passions for ourselves outside of being wives and mothers and caregivers.”

Anderson also added, “We have the ability to choose what we want to do with our lives and with our bodies without the permission of men and society. We don’t have to be silenced and have the right to talk about what we go through.”

The book also explores Anderson’s personal struggles growing up as a woman. “The book puts a focus on my perspective of gender inequality and how my personal experiences growing up with these struggles can be related to other women like myself,” Anderson said.

The book identifies the inequalities between men and women. Each of the essays connects to a personal experience in her life but at the same time gives a broader message to women. The essays explain how all women, regardless of their career goals, should not be afraid to be and do what they want to do. “We have to love and accept ourselves for who we are. I want all women to strive to be the best they can be and not be discouraged by patriarchal norms,” she said.

Even though the essays focus on women, the content and messages speak to everyone. Anderson said, “It comes down to society realizing that women and men are equal. My goal is not to bash men for the power they have, but to show them the benefits of a world where women are their equals. It is not just about setting new rules for people to abide by, but setting a new mindset where everyone is seen as valuable.”

Anderson believes that it is important to notice and acknowledge female power figures. “We must find a way to view women with power the same way we look at men with power. Both men and women, regardless of status, must be treated with the same respect,” she said. Regardless of race or gender, equality and respect must be balanced among all people.