Yesterday (August 26th) was Women’s Equality Day. We as a society have made massive strides since the inaugural Women’s Equality Day, in 1971. The number of women in Congress is at an all-time high, and women are continuing to break down barriers- just look at the two kick-ass women who were the first females to ever graduate from the Army Ranger school. While this is obviously something to celebrate, we are by no means finished. There are certainly people who disagree, but the following facts, gathered by Huffington Post, consistently prove that men and women still aren’t equal.
Fact 1: In the US, there are more male CEOs named John than woman CEOs.
Only 14.2% of the top five leadership positions at S&P 500 companies are held by women. So, while its great that women are even getting to hold leadership positions, there are still far too few women.
Fact 2: Women are a minority in the Senate and the House.
The legislative body making decisions about our country- Congress- is 80% male and 80% white. This is wholly unrepresentative of our nation’s population, meaning that the average person’s interests and beliefs are not going to be represented in the laws created. Furthermore, there has never been a female president. Women have never been given the opportunity to lead this country, so who is to say that they wouldn’t do a good job?
Fact 3: Women are more likely to experience domestic violence.
While it is true that anyone can experience domestic violence, and any domestic violence is horrible, it is overwhelmingly women that are the victims. 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. It negatively impacts their health, with victims being 80% more likely to have a stroke, 70% more likely to have heart disease, and 70% more likely to abuse alcohol.
Fact 4: Women are more likely to be in poverty.
The National Women’s Law Center states that nearly six in ten poor adults are women. Nearly six in ten poor children live in families headed by women. Poverty rates disproportionately affect single mothers, women of color, and elderly women living alone.
Fact 5: Women are more likely to be sexually assaulted.
The CDC has estimated that 1 in 5 women in the US have been raped in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 71 men. While we should aim to end all sexual assault, there is a massive discrepancy in the gender of victims. Addressing this issue will help to reduce rates of sexual assault.
Fact 6: The pay gap is real.
Despite the many, many people trying to claim that the wage gap does not exist, women make approximately 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. This discrepancy is even worse for women of color- black women earn 64 cents for every dollar a white man makes, and Latina women earn a mere 56 cents.
We can’t rest on the laurels of the accomplishments women have made. Every accomplishment we make should be celebrated- and should add fuel to the fire, to make society strive to further reduce gender equality. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “Achieving gender equality requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys. It is everyone’s responsibility.” We need everyone to sit up, and pay attention. It’s time for everyone to join the movement. And we can start by educating ourselves, and educating society. Gender inequality is real, but it’s up to us to end it.