Now I remember why I never post about politics. It is exhausting. I was very nervous writing about the Women’s March. I was nervous because I know a lot of conservative and/or republican people, and I thought my views on the march might not be well received. I was pleasantly surprised. While I’m not sure how many of my right-leaning friends actually took the time to read what I wrote, no one belittled or wrote anything negative either. I also participated in a pretty extensive conversation on another friend’s Facebook status with a stranger as to why I walked in the march. Despite having different opinions on certain topics and disagreeing about certain issues, the long conversation remained respectful. Even though I was not attacked or experienced any backlash for participating in the march, my brain is still tired from explaining and justifying my stance on particular issues.
But I will carry on and continue to share my perspective because I am proud of being part of such a large and incredible movement and have been inspired to be more involved advocating for the issues I believe in for myself and for those who cannot, and to educate myself on the issues I do not understand or have never taken the time to research in the past so I can form an opinion of my own.
One point that has come across from various people on why they do not believe in the march or do not feel it was impactful was the broad number of topics being advocated for. I’ve heard that it made people feel like all those women out there couldn’t unify under one front and instead are just, “all over the place”. Well, the fact that there are so many different issues which need to be marched for should speak volumes itself, but the purpose of the march was to bring a collective voice to all of the different topics to serve as a platform over the upcoming months. Now that America and legislators have hopefully opened their eyes to the concerns of millions of Americans, more emphasis and targeted tactics can be taken to continue the work and progress.
In my first post about the march, which you can read here, I wrote about reproductive rights. This round I will be highlighting worker’s rights. You’ve heard it before, the wage gap. It is undeniable that women make less than men and advocates and women around the world are asking for equal pay for equal work. Below is a chart from the Bureau of Labor statistics for 2015.
In case you can’t tell, the women’s earnings are lower than the men’s earnings. An even more disturbing chart is when we start looking at gender and race. Take a look:
You would think this information would speak for itself and not require further explanation on why this data is alarming, but there are many people who are still in disbelief or deny that this is a problem. I have personally experienced being in the same position as a man with the same qualifications, skills, and arguably a better work ethic and still made a lower wage. I have also been witness to a male getting preferential treatment in the workplace with a promotion over a female despite having just returned from a suspension for behavior issues. Have you ever been exposed to the “humor” of a woman “getting her knees dirty” to earn a position of leadership? This direct undermining of women is a systemic problem across our nation and it is not remedied by sucking it up and working harder. These are all very real circumstances women face today and the concern with the current government is there is no address to this topic as a top issue. The current administration plans to “bring back jobs and growth” without a single mention of equality. In fact, equality is not listed anywhere on the current White House dot gov website and the presidential cabinet is currently only slated to have four women.
Maybe you still do not think women in America are experiencing oppression or inequality. “Try being a woman in the Middle East and have to wear a burka or not even be able to drive” is one argument I have heard. And yes, there are women in much more horrendous situations than the average American woman. But just because there are others in worse situations, does not mean we cannot fight and insist on a better situation for ourselves.
So perhaps equality in the workplace is not a top priority for you so you’ll roll your eyes and say there are bigger problems at hand. And that is certainly your right to believe so. But to dismiss others making this their priority is unfair.
I came across this article that put into words what I have not been able to. This is an excerpt, but you can read the full article here.
The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.
But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?
I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.
~ Dina Leygerman, 2017
Over 500,000 people were in attendance in Washington, D.C, 750,000 in L.A., 250,000 in NYC, 250,000 in Chicago, 150,000 in Denver, 130,000 in Seattle, 150,000 in Boston, 2,000 in Pensacola, 3,000 in Charleston, 40,000 in Austin, 10,000 in St. Louis, 100,000 in Portland, 7,000 in Palm Beach, 100,000 in London, 60,000 in Toronto, 10,000 in Sydney. Over 670 marches took place world wide. This wasn’t about women whining or making much ado about nothing. If you don’t understand why women are marching, maybe you haven’t been listening.