Out in the Open

Feminism is a layered cake

Akio Maroon says we need to talk about feminism as a layered cake. When you cut a slice, you don't just get gender, but also the class, race, sexuality and ability that comes with it.

Akio Maroon thinks we need to talk about feminism as a layered cake.

What that means for Akio is that when we look at an issue like pay equity, we don't just see it as a gender issue but also influenced by class, race, sexuality, ability, etc., all of the layers that make up a women and that make experiences among women different. 

"On each level of the cake there is a different intersectionality," she says. 

"It's not good enough to say we're going to talk about feminist issues...It's about making sure that women from all walks of life can attend."   
Akio Maroon (Courtesy of Akio Maroon)

For instance, Akio talks about recently being invited to speak at a conference by an Ivy League university in the U.S.

It's not a paid gig, but the school offered to fly her out first class and put her up in a hotel.

Attending this conference would be a big deal for Akio and for her career as a public speaker and Human Rights advocate. But she was going to turn it down.

"The reality is I'm actually living in poverty. And, what that looks like is I can't afford childcare to be there. I can't afford transportation to get to the airport. Things like that, like food while I'm at the airport," she says.

"All these are all stumbling blocks for me and all road blocks."

In the end, a way was figured out so Akio can attend and speak at the conference - money will be provided for childcare and she'll have extra funds for travel expenses.

"While I'm doing this great opportunity I'm not going to be paid for, it feels more accessible to me [now]."

Akio says, "we have to as a movement really break down some of the racial bias' that we have, some of the class bias' that we have and some of the ableism" to name a few layers.

"It's not a good slice of cake if you just take the top layer off. You're just getting the icing. There's no body to that cake...so it doesn't stand up."