Women have been fighting for their rights since the first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. There, after two days of debate, the gathered signed a Declaration of Sentiments. Fast forward about 168 years and many countries have come a long way in gender inequality.
However, America is lagging far behind in the fight against this injustice.
We hear the stories of women being forced into marriage at a young age, not being able to get an education, in fear of being attacked and kidnapped. All these stories usually come from Middle-Eastern countries, but what about stories from our own backyard? Some 193 member states of the United Nations came together to ratify the International Bill of Rights for Women. Seven did not, including the United States.
In 2010, American women on average earned 81 percent of what their male counterparts earned. According to a Government Accountability Office report, single woman households had the lowest total annual income of all households, averaging about $27,000. About half of the household income came from their personal wage and salary earnings. The rest came from other sources, and if they did not have this extra income, these households would be well below the poverty limit.
Peggy Young, a former driver at UPS, requested an adjustment to her workload while she was pregnant under the recommendation of her doctor. The company denied her request and put her on unpaid leave, and alluded to her incapability to lift the 70 pounds required of her in the job description. In response, she sued and “the Supreme Court decided in Young’s favor on the grounds that UPS, which makes special accommodations for others with specific health conditions, needed to make comparable ones for pregnant women that enable them to continue working.”
This is one of many unfortunate examples of how we are still dealing with inequality in this country, yet it is also an example of how there is still hope that we will reach our goal. It’s 2016, and women are represented in almost every field. They are climbing up the corporate ladder, all combat jobs are finally open to women, and the gender-pay gab is shrinking.
We have come so far, but we have so far to go.