We all know it can be hard to be a woman sometimes. We are subject to physical objectification, harassment from the opposite gender and inundated with unrealistic body expectations perpetuated through media on a daily basis. And beyond that, it can just be really inconvenient at times, too (long bathroom lines, anyone?). But in all seriousness, if you think women are equal to men in this society, think again.
Yes, we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. From the choices we have available concerning our own bodies, to the wages we earn compared to men, there are a plethora of issues that still plague us in our battle to obtain equality. What can we do to help turn the dream of equality into a reality? It starts with awareness and being educated and informed about these issues. And, as we all know, we women can be a catty bunch, feeling pitted against each other, sometimes even bringing each other down. Well, we have to help raise each other up, and wholeheartedly support each other, as we are all in this together. I want a female president, already! Who's in with me? In the meantime, let's take a closer look at 13 ways women are separated from men in America including the very laws that protect these unfortunate realities.
13 We Pay More Than Men For The Same Things
There you have it folks. It literally costs more to have a vagina! In fact, according, to consumerist.com, women will pay thousands more over the course of a lifetime for virtually the same products. According to CBS News, there are laws that prohibit gender discrimination of pricing for services in New York, Miami-Dade County and California, but unfortunately no such federal law exists to control pricing of goods. This is endearingly known as the "pink tax" in which female versions of the same product cost more than that of men's. So, from hygiene products like razors, to toys and clothing, the female versions will often cost up to $1 to $2 more! Consumerreports.org reveal that there are efforts underway to prevent gender pricing discrimination, with the introduction of the Pink Tax Repeal Act. We women have enough to deal with, such as our monthly visitor, to be paid less than men. Seriously, give us a break already!
12 The Very Real Gender Pay Gap
If losing control over our bodies wasn't alarming enough, women are also unfortunately literally valued significantly less in the workforce. Just look at this picture. The dollar is partially chopped signifying this gender pay gap. According to national averages, women earn only 76 cents for every dollar men get. Some argue this disparity exists due to the fact that women hold fewer executive roles and positions of power than men do, thus earning less. Well, that's not good either! (And, we'll get to that later). Others say, maternity leave is to blame, as some women cut their careers short and with it their money earning potential when they leave the workforce for motherhood. Back in 1963, The Equal Pay Act supposedly abolished gender wage discrimination. But obviously, the gender pay gap still exists. Payscale said it best, "No matter how you slice it, there is a gender pay gap; men make more than women."
11 Men In This Country Have Power Over Our Bodies
This picture makes me want to break out passionately in song, "My body is not a battleground!" In 1973, women made one of the biggest breakthroughs for women's rights. In the case, Roe vs Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion would be legalized in the first semester of pregnancy. Of course, pro -life vs pro choice has been one of the greatest controversies ever for the U.S. to face, so much so that it seems that we women and the fate of our bodies can be truly akin to battlegrounds at times. As part of his political agenda, President Trump may want to overturn this decision, causing abortion to once again no longer be legalized. This means that the decision over our bodies and how we handle keeping or aborting a child, could be taken away from us, once again. Can you imagine?
10 Lack Of Political Representation
What is wrong with this picture? Do you see a single woman in it? Nope. Unfortunately, there exists a gross lack of female representation in politics. And what does that lead to? Well, a group of men making all the decisions, a lot of which can greatly impact women. According to NPR.org, 19% of Congress consists of female members, and less than 25% of women make up state legislatures. There are various arguments that we can look towards to explain this huge disparity—from men winning seats due to incumbency, or because women tend to start families first and put political aspirations on the back-burner. Yes, women have held the right the vote now for almost 100 years, but we obviously have a long way to go and obstacles to overcome to ensure we are more equally represented in politics.
9 Trump Wants To Repeal The Affordable Care Act
Former president Obama passed the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare back in 2010, to enable all American citizens to have affordable, stable and reliable healthcare, ensuring 20 million Americans. Well, our darling new president Trump of course wants to repeal the act which will greatly impact the health and livelihood of women all over the country. According to KFF.org, his provisions would affect preventative care, meaning that women may no longer be covered for cancer screenings and well, woman visits. Under his provisions, most plans may no longer cover birth control and benefits would be weakened for care of pregnant and postpartum women. Political efforts are being made to prevent the repeal of the act with the #protectourcare. I truly hope that this act survives as I am scared for the state of women's healthcare without it. Go share the hashtag, #protectourcare now!
8 Lack Of Legislation To Protect Women Against Assault And Domestic Violence
These two sentences make me shudder and my blood run cold. The statistics are truly frightening. Ncadv.org states that 1 in 7 women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime and 1 in 4 women will undergo domestic abuse. 1994's Violence Against Women Act provided grants to organizations and programs that work to prevent female domestic abuse and sexual assault and provide protections and services for victims. Slate.com exemplifies just how important these programs are to women, providing them with the necessary support to rebuild their lives. President Trump's political agenda includes making drastic cuts to these grants, greatly threatening these services and protections available to women. I'm trying to understand Trump's argument for making these cuts, as his provisions seem unnecessarily cruel, greatly undermining and devaluing female victims of sexual and domestic crimes. I hope for him to make the proper leadership choices and to accurately represent women's needs in America.
7 Racial Discrimination Is Still A Huge Problem For Women Of Color
If you thought it was bad enough that women earn about 20% less on average than men for the same work, well, it does get worse, and, unfortunately, it's the already marginalized minorities and women of color who feel the brunt of it. Does this picture not enrage you? According to this picture, African American women earn 60.5 cents for every dollar a white man earns, an unacceptable 40% less! Some argue that the difference is accounted for by the fact that there are fewer numbers of women of color and female minorities who are college educated. However, with further examination, among college educated female minorities, and women of color, these unfortunate disparities still exist. Clearly, the pay gap issue goes deeper than that of just between men and women, and regrettably, we still have a long way to go to overcome racial discrimination in all its forms.
6 Discrimination Against Women In The Workforce
When examining issues of inequality between men and women, look no further than women in the workforce. Unfortunately, gender discrimination leads to situations in which hiring managers will employ or give promotions to fewer women than men. According to thebalance.com, "Qualified women may be passed over for promotions because they become pregnant (pregnancy discrimination) or because they might become pregnant." And of course, this means that young female college graduates who are just entering the workforce, who are at the ripe age of fertility, may be overlooked for a less qualified male applicant.
Sadly, the gender discrimination doesn't end there. Of course, we women are also no stranger to being unfairly scrutinized on our looks. We can also lose out on positions to less qualified men for being too pretty or sexy, or not pretty or sexy enough. Ugh, when will it end?
5 Lack Of Workplace Accommodations For Pregnant And Post Natal Women
Did you know that women can be fired from jobs just for being pregnant? Employers may try to hide the discrimination at play by feigning concern for the new mother's safety, when the truth was simply that his female employee was pregnant. We know pregnancy discrimination can cost women promotions and positions, but the problems go beyond that—from preventing new mothers from pumping milk on work hours to not recognizing their medical needs, there is an unfortunate lack of accommodations in the workplace for pregnant and post natal women. According to rewire.com, while the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 prohibited pregnancy discrimination, many employers still "fall short of accommodating the needs of pregnant workers." Pushing women out of the workforce when they enter motherhood, not only sets the women's movement backwards—it hurts the earning potential of new mothers who greatly need the money to afford the costs of raising a young child.
4 Lack Of Contraception Coverage In The Workplace
Unfortunately, losing control over the choice to have an abortion is not the only way women's healthcare is being threatened in today's world under Trump's administration. According to plannedparenthoodaction.org, thanks to Obamacare, 55 million American women were able to obtain birth control coverage under their insurance plan without an out-of-pocket cost. This meant that under the protections of Obama's act, women were saving "$1.4 billion dollars a year on birth control alone"! Back in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled a decision that enabled companies to deny birth control coverage to their employees. Now, this could get even worse. If Republican provisions succeed to cut our coverage for affordable birth control, this could have huge negative consequences for women, especially for low-income women. So, yet another decision would be taken away from us—the rudimentary right to decide if and when we become pregnant. Scary much?
3 Scattering Female Executives
Close your eyes for a moment—what image pops in your mind when you think of a CEO? Probably, a white man, right? Well, the gap between men and women doesn't exist solely for that of wages but also for positions in business, especially the upper management ones. This picture reveals that a pathetic 14.2% of female executives are female. What's going on here in our aspirations to make our way into the C-suite and Fortune 500? Arguments attempting to explain this discrepancy say that, again, women leave the workforce to become mothers, as they are working their way up the top. And of course, after they reenter the workforce, they have to work their way up the ladder and through a lot of red tape. A terribly meager 4.2% of females are CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. Others say women tend to lack the support from their companies to be mentored and groomed into these high power upper management positions, so they end up in HR or investor relations, which are important, yes, but don't open doors to the C-suite.
2 Unpaid Maternity Leave At The Federal Level
Did you know that there is no mandated paid maternity leave at the federal level in the U.S while other nations not only have paid maternity leave, some offer literally a time period over a year?! According to Pewresearch.org, Estonia offers 87 weeks paid maternity leave while Bulgaria, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, Austria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Norway and Slovakia also provide over a year! U.S comes in dead last, at you guessed it—0! The 1993 Family Leave Medical Act (FMLA) only provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but there is still more red tape that prevents most women from qualifying for even that. With no federal law enforcing paid maternity leave, this leaves the decision up to the states. Rhode Island, and New Jersey offer partially paid maternity leave for 6 weeks, California for 4 and New York should hopefully soon offer 12 weeks partially paid leave starting in 2018. Come on, U.S., catch up!
1 Fewer Women Than Men In Fields, Such As Engineering, Technology, Sports And Media
Look at this young girl in the GIF above. She is exemplifying a desire to keep up her looks and to be considered "pretty". But if we told her, she's "pretty brilliant " instead, she may put down the lip gloss and...who knows, pick up a telescope? Women are unfortunately far behind men in many fields, holding greatly fewer positions than men in the fields of engineering, technology, sports and media. Forbes states that 25% of women are in IT jobs and according to womensmediacenter.com, 25.2% of women hold positions in media such as anchors, field reporters and correspondents. Women are also greatly underrepresented in the fields of sports and engineering. Ensuring that young women are able to realize their full potential and succeed in currently, male-dominated fields, relies on us teaching young girls to value their intelligence, not just their looks. The heck with stereotypes that tech and engineering are fields only suited for men! We women will show them!!
Sources: The Balance, NPR, Forbes, Rewire, Planned Parenthood Actionter, Women's Media Center, Ncadv.org, KFF.org, Payscale, Consumer Reports, Consumerist, CBS News, Pewresearch.org