BY CARMEN FANNING
Do you want to be paid according to the work you’ve done? I do too.
Do you want to be judged purely based on your athletic abilities and not your gender? I do too.
Do you want to be seen as a whole person rather than an object? I do too.
Do you want to be judged purely based on your characteristics and not looks? I do too.
What is the cost of fully unleashing the woman’s potential, and look at what could be gained in doing so? Although strides have been made, there is still a long way to go.
The current status of the Equal Rights Amendment has been up for discussion and debate in recent months. The Equal Rights Amendment was originally created by Alice Paul in the 1920s and states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Women make up half of the population, yet do not have any legal protection or equality of human rights written in the Constitution. It’s been almost a century since the amendment was first proposed to Congress, and the hopes of Alice Paul are finally coming into fruition. 38 states ratified the amendment and now it is up to Congress if it will finally become part of the Constitution.
Change needs to be made. There needs to be more women representation in political and economic decision making. Laws are being made regarding the female body without any input from the woman herself. This is counterproductive to women’s empowerment and gender equality. Equality is in the best interest of everyone: women, men and children.
Although the ERA is mainly geared towards women, it offers benefits to men as well. Paternity leave would be guaranteed and equal to maternity leave. It also guarantees equality in child custody cases, unwed fathers, paternity suits, equitable divorce settlements, etc. For women, the ERA will aid in equal pay, protection of pregnancy discrimination, laws of domestic violence, and more.
If we are a so-called democracy, a country of the people, then why is passing this law even a debate? I don’t understand how equality alone is ever an issue worth debating over. Although laws have been made in place of the amendment, I believe the ERA is more relevant now than ever. Laws, such as Title VII or Title IX, have vital sections often overlooked or rewritten. The existing amendments of the Constitution aren’t doing enough. Although the fourteenth amendment does ensure equal protection to every person under law but that doesn’t ensure the government will intercede in issues of gender inequality. The ERA ensures that women are equal to men in every caliber before the law.
Why wait for change when we can start today?
Think of the traits you find most important in a leader. I asked ten male and female students which leadership trait means the most to them. Among these were attentive, personable, communication and the ability to rally people towards one goal. Statistically, these are traits most women possess, so why are there fewer women in leadership roles than men?
A Harvard study was conducted to compare the top sixteen competencies’ top leaders exemplify the most comparing 360 men and women. Women outscored men in twelve of the sixteen competencies. The two that women outscored men significantly were taking initiative and driving results, traits that were assumed of being male-dominated.
Women make up 47% of the workforce, yet make up less than 5% of CEO positions at S&P 500 Companies.
In January 2019 102 women were part of the U.S. House of Representatives, less than a quarter of Congress, compared to their male counterparts.
One in three women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, while 91% of rape victims and sexual assault survivors are women.
Women of color represent nearly 50% of the workforce for low-income families.
Why don’t women always report a sexual assault case? 75% of victims experience retaliation after reporting a case.
Women earn 20% less than their male counterparts.
There is an evident gender gap in America. This month is International Women’s History Month, a month that highlights and celebrates the accomplishments of women and the woman herself. This is a great time, more than ever, to confront the gender inequality issue in America.
These are basic human rights. Human rights that women all over the country do not have.
Feminism is not anti-men. The reality is, we need men now more than ever to ally alongside women to bring change to fruition. True Feminism is the notion that men and women are equal, and have access equal opportunities and equal rights. The underlying problem is that equality should not control what that free person should or shouldn’t be doing with their freedom.
In a society where women are often shamed, not given equal opportunities and overlooked, women empowerment is needed more than ever. Ladies we can’t do this without each other. Men we can’t do this without you.
“Your silence will not protect you.” -Audre Lorde