Women’s Equality Day is August 26th…and yes, we still need it!

26 08 2010

Today is Women’s Equality Day. Some may wonder why such a day exists, or that because women are achieving at all levels, why such a day should exist. Here are a few facts that point to the idea that women are far from achieving equality and Women’s Equality Day is still needed:

  • The Gender Pay Gap: women on average earn .77 cents to every dollar earned by a male (click here or here from more info)
  • Men outnumber women in all positions of power in all contexts (click here)
  • Women far outnumber men as victims of sexual violence, harassment and discrimination (click here)
  • The structure of our society disadvantages women who work outside the home, and who for the most part are still primarily responsible for care taking and household upkeep. Families need more flexible work schedules, comprehensive child care policies, redesigned family and medical leave, and equal pay as to help females succeed in life-work balance. (click here)
  • Women and girls are constantly exposed to what Susan J. Douglas (2010) calls Enlightened Sexism (a response to a perceived threat to the existing gender regime of male power) and bombarded by the media with messages that “purchasing power and sexual power are much more gratifying than political or economic power”…buying stuff and performing hyperfemininity has emerged as the way female empowerment (See Douglas’ book, Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism’s Work is Done for a complete explanation of the deleterious affects of enlightened sexism)
  • Female athletes are rarely seen in sport media and when they are athletic competence is minimized (click here).

What other ways can you think of in which females are not equal participants? Please comment and add to this list…

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2 responses

31 08 2010
Niamh

It’s frustrating that we still need a day like this, but I agree that there is still very far to go before real equality exists. It’s probably a utopian ideal but definitely one we should keep moving towards. There has been so much progress in the last 50 years that maybe we forget that things should keep on moving. I read an interview with one of the actors from “Mad Men” recently. Great show! But the scary part in the interview was when the actor said: ” Roger can say things you can’t say any more, even if you think the same things…”

8 09 2010
moriahbethany

I think that one of the thinks that happened here is that the sexual revolution became the only focal point. The knowledge that sex is for women’s enjoyment too is just one of the things we hoped to accomplish. Instead it became the only focal point. While my dislike of the word “slut” is huge I have other issues beyond sexuality. Women have been just as responsible for keeping some of these shameful traditions around unfortunately. I am not interested in my right to show cleavage as much as I am interested in having women and men take a closer look at the difficulties women face. We should not have to demean women who choose marriage and children over a career because they are “just housewives”. We should at the same time encourage women who are willing to do both, or focus on their own lives entirely. Every single friend I have has a story about being either sexually assaulted or having some degree of assault attempted. It is almost always a friend or relative. To me this says we have a gigantic problem with how we still continue to view women, and about sex in general. I would like to see more proactive conversations about respect of women in general. We can start with supporting each other and not using words to demean other women. Keep moving forward. Keep writing.

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