Tuesday, April 16, 2024

March 8 highlights women’s suffrage

Staff and students gathered in the Angell College Center to celebrate International Women’s Day.

 

By Victoria Campbell

March 8 is a significant day, not just because it is a Friday –- International Women’s Day empowers women and highlights their achievements and struggles worldwide. 

This day brings explicit awareness to the ongoing issue of gender inequality and how we need to advocate for women as a society.

We have come far, but there is much room for growth. When the United States was first established, women were considered property to men, with zero civil rights. It took years of activism for the country to enact.

According to the website Your Dream, women’s rights were suspended during marriage. The husband and wife were considered one person. In the United States, by 1777, women’s rights to vote were revoked.

It took the United States more than 100 years to grant women the right to vote in state elections, and New York was one of the first to do so.

The U.S. has continued to grow but has slightly gone back to its old ways. In 2022, the Supreme Court decided to rule that the Constitution does not confer any right to abortion, meaning some states continue to have laws against it or have limitations. 

As far as the United States has come, this news is detrimental to women. It creates a belittling society. Everyone has different views on abortion, but women should always have the freedom to choose. 

Whether one agrees or disagrees is not the issue — it’s the fact that in some states, women do not legally have the choice.

Unequal pay is another issue that has been around for decades. Women are not paid nearly as much as men, even when working full-time, according to the Department of Labor. Women working full-time all year are paid only 83.7% of what men are paid. This is a disappointment. Women being paid 16% less than men is horrifying in this age.

The United States is not the only country needing improvements in women’s rights and equality. According to Oxfam America, an organization that aims to end poverty and injustice, 153 countries have laws which discriminate against women economically. Additionally, in 18 countries husbands can legally prevent their wives from working. 

Not only will these laws create dependent tendencies, but they will also prevent women from making something of themselves.

In 2023, Oxfam America also reported that one in three girls and women worldwide experience abuse or violence in their lifetime. 

We have had years to improve treatment toward women, and I think the outcome is disappointing. Around the world, the mindset that a woman’s job is to stay home and clean and take care of the kids is and will continue to impact women’s treatment. It needs to change.

Awareness needs to continue to be spread to improve these issues for equality and women’s rights. Some of the best countries for women’s rights are Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg. 

If women’s rights do not expand or change, women will continue to face unequal treatment in the workplace and be denied opportunities to learn and to lead. Due to these unfair actions, many women continue to live in poverty. In New York state, 17.6% of adult women live in poverty, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy.

Women’s achievements are something that should be recognized daily, but also the struggles that continue to impact women, whether it is unequal pay, unfair treatment or violence. 

Internationally, we need to change and continue to grow so women have a better chance in the world and feel that they can always succeed without gender being considered.

 

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