18 Things I Pray My Niece Won't Have To Deal With In America By The Time She Turns 18

18 Things I Pray My Niece Won't Have To Deal With In America By The Time She Turns 18

We have come a long way in the past 100 years, but not far enough.

Samantha Frost

100 years ago, women in the United States couldn't participate in the democratic process. It wasn't until 1920 that the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.

50 years ago, an unmarried person didn't have the right to use contraceptives. It wasn't until 1972 that the Supreme Court ruled the legalized use of birth control to all citizens, not just the married ones during the case Eisenstadt v. Baird.

45 years ago, women didn't have the choice of what to do with their bodies. Abortion wasn't made legal until 1973 in Roe v. Wade when the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protects women's right to choose.

25 years ago, some women weren't allowed to take leave after having a baby. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 allowed female workers to take employment leave after giving birth.

10 years ago, if a woman faced pay discrimination, victims were allowed only 180 days from their first unfair paycheck to file a complaint with the government. In 2009, President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which made it so women can file a complaint until 180 days after their last paycheck.

While we have come a long way in women's rights, we are still far from being treated equally to men.

Until that day comes, I hope that by 2034, when my niece is 18 years old, we will have bettered these 18 things.

1. Get more women working in STEM fields.

Women comprise 24% of STEM fields, even though women represent 48% of the workforce.

2. Lower campus sexual assault.

23.1% of females have experienced rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.

3. Eradicate unequal pay.

In 2015, full-time female workers made 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man for doing the same job.

4. Stop street harassment.

65% of all women have experienced street harassment.

5. Get rid of the need for #MeToo.

I never want my niece to have to say the words "me too."

6. Give women confidence in their reproductive rights.

It seems every four years, women's reproductive rights are called into question when the presidential election occurs. Already in 2018, the Senate rejected measures to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

7. Offer better sex education and sexual health.

According to the 2014 CDC School Health Profiles, fewer than half of high schools and only a fifth of middle schools teach all 16 topics recommended by the CDC as essential components of sex education.

8. See fair representation in the media.

There is only 1 female film director for every 15.24 male ones.

9. Elect a woman as president.

Seeing Hillary Clinton run for president inspired me and showed me that women are not only capable of being president, but that we would make extraordinary presidents. We need someone to shatter that glass ceiling for us.

10. Get rid of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.

This is a major problem with devastating consequences.

11. Stop blaming and shaming.

We need to ask, "How can we teach people not to rape other people?" Not, "What was she wearing?"

12. Help women get out of poverty.

Women are 35% more likely to live in poverty than men.

13. Lower domestic violence statistics.

85% of victims of domestic violence are women. This needs to stop.

14. Prevent teenagers from experiencing dating violence.

76% of teens have experience dating violence and it falls to us to teach them that is not OK. We need to lead with conversations and examples of healthy dating.

15. Expand representation of women in Congress.

Women make up 19% of Congress and 25% of state legislators.

16. Take rape seriously.

Two out of three rapes are not reported to the police. For every 1,000 rapes reported, 994 perpetrators will walk free.

17. Offer both women and men paid maternity leave.

The United States is the only developed nation in the world that doesn't mandate paid maternity leave.

18. Increase representation of women in the justice system and CEO positions.

There is a gross lack of women as prosecutors, judges, and police officers. Out of the fortune 500 companies, only 27 of those run by women.

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