As we continue to recognize the late Stephen Hawking for his scientific wisdom after his death in March 2018, we should also commemorate him as a badass advocate for women’s rights and a self-proclaimed feminist.
Who would have thought that this English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author would be so outspoken in regards to equality? A 2017 interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain uncovers Hawking’s strong beliefs.
About halfway into the interview, following topics such as Trump’s presidency and climate change, Morgan began asking the physicist many questions regarding gender equality, but Hawking wasn’t fazed.
Morgan began by insinuating that having five female leaders in the UK – Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, and Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick – must be scientific proof of gender equality.
Hawking simply replied, “it is not scientific proof of gender equality that is required, but general acceptance that women are at least the equals of men or better.” Even the world’s most famous scientist knows that feminism has nothing to do with science – it simply has to do with being decent to one another! And Hawking believed we are on our way to this gender equality as a country, immediately adding, “this is coming.”
Hawking also expressed his satisfaction for the rise of women in leadership positions and women’s liberation during the interview. After a few more equality-related questions, Piers Morgan eventually asked Hawking point-blank if he considered himself a feminist.
He simply stated, “yes, I have always supported women’s rights.”
Hawking continued by saying, “we are witnessing a seismic shift for women to accede to high-level positions in politics and society.” And he was right – more women are in positions of power than ever before!
Regardless of these bold, straightforward statements from Stephen Hawking, there is still work to be done in the world of equality, especially regarding the gap of women’s success between public and private sectors, according to Hawking.
But “however bad life may seem,” Hawking once said in a 2006 Hong Kong press conference, “there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” These are words of wisdom from one of the world’s wisest men!
Stephen Hawking’s overt feminism – and general optimism – is just another reason to celebrate the late physicist. Although there is much more that should be done in order reach gender equality, we can all follow Hawking’s advice in the ongoing fight toward gender equality: “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”
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