The status of women has changed vigorously throughout time in the United States of America. Between reproductive rights, sexist dress codes, sexual harassment, menstruation jokes and body shaming — women are still fighting to be treated equally. The issue is that women are not being taken seriously in our government because many individuals refuse to acknowledge the economic and social differences between men and women. However, the women affected by this inequality exist and it's time we stop treating women as a side issue.
We Deserve Our Reproductive Rights
Despite the Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford case where the Supreme Court declared that bodily autonomy is the utmost important right, women are still being turned away when trying to receive an abortion that they are entitled to. Only 3 percent of the 10.6 million services provided by Planned Parenthood clinics in 2013 were abortion services, but politicians continue the discussion of revoking funding. This generates a slippery slope because while legal documents may state that a woman is entitled to a legal abortion within certain restrictions - lawmakers have made it nearly impossible to receive a clean, safe abortion. By revoking funding and closing these clinics, there would be no possible way for a woman to receive an abortion, which is unconstitutional as she cannot exercise her rights. If you are a politician and can’t say the word "vagina" without feeling completely squeamish – stop regulating them.
The Wage Gap Is Real, Harmful And Unacceptable
Conservative members of the House and Senate refuse to acknowledge the wage gap that oppresses women each day within their bank accounts and paychecks. In 2014, women working full time in the United States made only 79 percent of what their male counterparts made. This number doesn’t even take into consideration the Hispanic, African American, American Indian and Native Hawaiian women who make even less than that. In 2014, Hispanic and Latina women made only 44 percent of what white men were paid. This silent form of oppression is inexcusable and cannot wait any longer to be acknowledged. By ignoring the wage-gap, we are not treating women as anything better than second-class citizens. If it was discovered that men were making less than women, not only would it be fixed instantly but money would probably be delivered personally to the home of every man in the work force to make up for it.
Our Little Black Dress Will Never Mean "Yes"
College campuses and work zones have no issue covering up cases of violence against women, especially in the case of sexual assault. Maybe it’s just me but I strive to live in a world where my government does not spend my taxpayer money trying to redefine the meaning of the word ‘rape.’ Nearly one in five women have been the victim of rape or an attempted rape in their lifetime. Politicians and lawyers will blame your outfit, call you a tease, ask if you fought back, claim you were ‘asking for it’ but never once will they blame the rapist. The victim of a crime should never become the accused but when it comes to women, that is exactly what happens. The government is supposed to treat whom it governs with respect, but does that exclude women?
Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied
As a country, we cannot afford to treat women as second-class citizens. The issues that exist should not be ignored, pushed to the side or simply erased because they affect the lives of women in America every day. We are here, we’re angry and we aren’t going anywhere. We are mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters and grandmothers. However, we are also lawyers, senators, teachers, doctors, engineers, CEOs, soldiers and pilots. Inequality for some is inequality for all. As a nation united, we are only as great as our neighbor. America has an extensive history of making the wrong decisions regarding equality but eventually we work to make it right. The economic and social inequality that women face every day is a small fraction of suppression that will torment them throughout their lives. The fight for gender equality cannot wait because it is not a side issue, just as women are not a side issue.