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Womens Equal Rights

In: Social Issues

Submitted By demi3434
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It is engraved in our constitution that “all men are created equal.” It is something we learn about at a young age. Yet it only states that men are created equal, not women. Many activists have been fighting for women to have equal rights and many are still fighting. Years ago, women were not allowed to vote, not allowed to hold jobs, and were simply thought of being the ones who stayed at home to be with the children. Now women can vote, have jobs, and do things men can do. With all the advancements towards equality, women seem to be taking a step back, because women are treated unfairly today. The United States Federal Government should re-ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), making sure all the 50 states accept it, because it will insure everyone will be treated equal. In this essay, I will briefly trace the history of women inequality and explain why it is a problem. Next, I will provide evidence as to how women are treated unfairly, and explain what the Equal Rights Amendment is. Lastly, I will explain how re-ratifying the ERA will guarantee equality for all, by eliminating women inequality. It has been over 100 years since the first women’s rights convention was held in 1864 and there have been so many advancements for women rights. The first Women’s Trade Union League was established in 1903, women gain the right to vote in1920, and Equal Rights Amendment was finally introduced in 1923. The ERA was what women in America were fighting for; something that would guarantee equality. According to, the ERA guaranteed freedom from legal sex discrimination and was separated into three sections: * Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. * Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article * Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
It was accepted in 1972 and required acceptance from 38 states. However, only 22 states approved. The ERA was reintroduced to congress in 1982. Furthermore, it has been introduced in every congress meeting since, but has not been re-ratified. With all the improvements women have experienced in the workforce and politically, there is still indirect inequality women must overcome. Moreover, Women in the workforce and violence against women are just some major examples of how women are treated unequal. There is a barrier between men and women in the workforce that exists and is part of the reason women are treated unequal. Also, there are no laws in affect protecting women from violence. Women have had so many advancements, yet all the examples given are just setbacks that need to be solved. Women have been in the workforce for as long as they have been allowed to work. Now, they can work where ever they want. Yet, they still get paid unequally. Schneider (2012) states that women get paid 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. Even more interesting is that the 2010 U.S. Census data reveal that even though women tend to have more college degree, women are still making less than their male co-workers. “Women hold nearly half of all the positions of employment in the United States workforce, but account for a severe minority of the upper-management positions.” (Fisher 2013) Since women hold half of the jobs in the United States they should be treated equally, and be able to move up in positions in the workforce. “The wage gap in the United States provides a good example of this underlying male breadwinner model.” (Schiender 2013) This explains that men are usually seen as the breadwinners, and women are not. This mindset is not too far from the one of the 60’s where the man made all of the money and the woman stayed home. Women should not being going backwards! This mindset needs to be changed to women can also be the breadwinner by providing women with equal rights. Another example of how women are treated unequal in the workforce is through pregnancy discrimination. In the article, Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma by Miller (2014), she explains it as, “Taking time off for family obligations, including paternity leave, which could have long-term negative effects on a man’s career — like lower pay or being passed over for promotions.” Now, companies can’t ask their women worker if they are planning to have kids, this counts as discrimination, yet; more than half of the workers in the United States work at smaller companies that are not required to offer paternity leave at all. (Miller 2014). The number of companies offering paternity leave are slowly dropping. With that being said, women are missing out on promotions and higher positions in the work force since women are biologically designed to produce children, while on the other hand men are not and have more free time. Although women bare children, their professionalism in their career field should not be effected, but they should be looked at by the work they produce for their companies. Additionally, violence against women is another way women are unequal. In the article, Towards a Renewed Equal Rights Amendment, MacKinnon(2014) states that, “Rape nor domestic violence are remotely redressed in any proportion to their occurrence. Systemic rape attrition begins with non-reporting: only 9.5% of rapes committed outside marriage are ever reported.” Which means that many women who are raped or abused, just do not report. This happens because, “women know that their reports of sexual assault will likely not be taken seriously and they are more likely to be punished than vindicated.” (Mackinnon 2014). MacKinnon also pointed out that violence towards women is something that goes unprotected by laws. For example, the Violence Against Women Act was a law passed in 1995 and was revoked by the supreme court later for an unclear reason. Since then, no laws have been passed. Mackinnon states that if we don’t solve this issue then it is like women are taking a step backwards instead of forward. Next, there have been many acts put into place to help women inequality yet none of them have worked or even lasted long enough. For example, in order to provide women with equal pay in the workforce, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was passed and it stated that, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, women are entitled to equal wages in comparison to their male counterparts when “equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and perform under the same working conditions” is shared. (Fisher 2013). The wage gap still exist because the Equal Pay Act states that “the specific job substance and content, not specific job name, is the responsible factor in deciding the equivalence of work completed.” (Equal=Pay, Women’s Bureau, p. 1-2). Meaning that women get paid equal to men when it comes to the same amount of work. Yet many would state that this is completely annoyed. Those who believe the wage gap does not exist argue that since men pursue higher paying jobs they get paid more. (Fisher 2013) Yet, Fisher states that there is still a barrier between men and women called the glass ceiling. Which basically mean that men can go as far as they want to in the workforce, but women can only go to a certain point and then they eventually hit a ‘glass ceiling.’ To solve the glass ceiling issue, Ex-President G. Bush created the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission. All it did was confirm that the glass ceiling did exist, but it did nothing solve it. (Powell 2013) The glass ceiling still exists and is another example of how women are treated unequally. Clifford states that “the glass ceiling still remains as strong as it did before pioneers began chipping away at gender inequality in the workplace.” (2013) Another act passed to try to solve the wage gap was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which was just an updated version of the Equal Pay act of 1963. This was another failed act because it didn’t pass in enough states. (Fisher 2014). Since many of that acts that were aimed at providing equal rights for women in the workforce have been passed and then revoked, this is evidence that women are still unequal. (Seith 2013) Another example of how women are unequal is the discrimination that is held against them due to pregnancy. Many companies would much rather hire a man since they do not require time of off work due to pregnancy, whereas women do. Although, women have three or more children, they are way less likely to make it back into the workplace. (Ballman 2011) To solve pregnancy discrimination, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was passed and under it, it states, "The terms 'because of sex' or 'on the basis of sex' include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related.” (U. S. Equal Employment Commission, 1978). Meaning that a company or employer cannot discriminate against a women due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Miller (2014) states that even though companies cannot ask a women if they plan to have kids, or if they do have kids, many companies do not offer paternity leave. Furthermore, the United States has the worse conditions for paternity leave out of all the countries that have it. The discrimination act may have been passed and is still active today, but women do not get treated the way they deserve to be. Since there are no laws protecting women against violence, women are still taking steps backwards, instead of forward. To solve the problem of domestic violence and rape, an act was passed in 2004. Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which stated that there was zero tolerance for gender-motivated violence. Yet, the supreme court revoked the act and stated that congress didn't have the authority to pass it. Since then, there has been no law or act addressing rape or domestic violence (MacKinnon, 2014). Vice president Joe Biden said that violence against women an epidemic that cuts to the very core of how we measure ourselves as a society. (Zezima 2012) If violence against women is an epidemic than it needs to be solved. Furthermore, violence against women goes unprotected by laws and is something that adds to the inequality of women, which can be solved if the ERA is re-ratified. The Equal Rights Amendment was suppose to be a game changer when it was passed in the 70’s. As a result of not enough states accepting it, overall it was denied. After being denied, the ERA is still discussed at the senate meetings up to this day. It will clearly be written in the ERA that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” (Maloney 2013) Since the ERA would be adding “a specific reference to sex equality to the Constitution, the amendment would result in strict scrutiny for governmental policies that discriminate based on sex and lead to a greater consideration of the particular impact of decisions on women even in the private sector.” Davis (2008). In simpler terms, since the ERA specifically states sex equality, it will work because there is nothing in the policies of today that ensure it. The ERA will help the wage gap as well. Pay equity is another factor driving renewed enthusiasm for the Equal Rights Amendment (Guadiano, 2014). The ERA would also provide a clearer judicial standard for deciding cases of sex discrimination, since federal and state courts, some working with state ERAs, some without, still reflect confusion and inconsistency in dealing with such claims. All in all, women have been around as long as men have, and have paved the way for all women. More and more people are stepping out and addressing the issue of women inequality. From Emma Watson’s UN speech to Joseph Gordon Levitt stating to be a feminist, years have passed and women's rights is something still worth fighting for until a solution is made. Women are unequal in the workforce even though they have worked so hard to be there and they are unequal when it comes to domestic violence and rape. Many acts and law were passed to solve these inequality yet all have failed to be enforced properly. “Equality for women will not fully develop until society in general comes to terms with the notion that men and women are equals.” (Fisher 2013) The ERA, if re-ratified can be the solution. It will be what women have been waiting for for so long. It can give them the equality they deserve. Carolyn Maloney sums it up best when she says, “The only way to ensure equality for women is to clearly declare it in our constitution.” Let us forget about, “All men are created equal.” And let us start saying, “All humans are created equal.”

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