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Politics and Activism

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Why women need a movement.

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There’s a pretty famous Facebook post circulating around the internet which opposes the Women’s March and the movement for women’s rights altogether. The post claims that women in the U.S. are in fact equal to men. Here are 9 (of many) reasons why women do need this movement.

1. The Wage Gap

For every dollar a man makes, a woman makes 80 cents (a).

2. The Tampon Tax

Period products are not exempt from sales tax since they are not considered a “basic necessity.” Only 5 states (in addition to the four that do not have sales tax) consider tampons a non-luxury item. Women are forced to pay an unreasonable price for a necessary sanitary product.

3. Objectification and Social Inequality

The difference between how women and men are regarded socially is present in all forms of entertainment and in everyday conversation. Women are objectified in music and television. A woman who has the same number of partners as a man is shamed significantly more than the man.

4. CEO’s

Only 14% of CEO’s are women. In addition, female CEO’s are less likely to hold STEM-related positions.

5. Underrepresentation in Government

In the House of Representatives, women hold only 19.3% of the seats. Therefore, legislature directly impacting women is largely determined by men.

6. Domestic and Sexual Assault

One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives. Only 31% of rapes are reported (b). One of three women have been or will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives (c).

7. Unequal Reproductive Rights

There is a battle raging against government funding of Planned Parenthood—not because of the valuable health services it provides for families who need them, but because it provides birth control and abortion services. Birth control is a necessity for some, not just a contraceptive. The morality of abortion may be controversial to some, but a woman’s right to her own body should not be. Men are currently determining which rights a woman deserves to have.

8. Poverty

There is a higher percentage of poverty for women than for men, which is likely a product of the wage gap (d).

9. Paid Maternity Leave

The U.S. provides 0 weeks of paid maternity leave. An employer may provide paid maternity leave if they choose, but there is no law requiring it. California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey are the only exceptions. Yes, the United States is behind Malta, North Korea, Turkey, Mexico, and just about every developed country when it comes to providing mothers with this basic right.

These are only some of the gender inequality issues within the United States. There are more within this country, and sadly, many more throughout the entire world. It is an improvement that some women are able to believe that they are equal, but we are far from it. The battle for women’s rights is a relevant and necessary fight, and we must continue until no dollar, double standard, or legislature separates man from woman.

Sources:

a) Institute for Women’s Policy Research

b) National Sexual Violence Resource Center

c) National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

d) Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

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