Women’s Rights: Be Informed, Be Aware, Young Women. The Times Are Changing

By Kaitlyn O’Donnell

In the 1920, women’s suffrage was achieved. In 1933, Frances Perkins became thefirst female cabinet member under President Roosevelt. In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice appointed to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Women have undoubtedly made positive changes in the history of the United States, but the intense battle for gender equality is nowhere near its end. Today, women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden to drive. In the Middle East and parts of Asia, arranged marriages are present and it isn’t uncommon for women to be married before their eighteenth birthday. In the United States, mostly, women still earn seventy-seven percent of what men earn when undergoing the same type and amount of work. There
are obviously still a lot of issues that need revisions throughout the world, but now, women’s health is at risk in the United States when it shouldn’t be. 

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of making abortions legal nationwide in the historic court case Roe v. Wade. During this past U.S. presidential election, it was no secret that President Donald Trump and his supporters were against the outcome and results of that trial. With this being said, Mike Pence broke the rather recent Senate tie in March to begin defunding Planned Parenthood, most likely because of their abortion services. This follows his campaign pledge that “We’ll see Roe V. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs (LA Times, July 2016). Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice it is crucial to understand that only three percent of the money given to Planned Parenthood goes to abortion services. Yes, three. The other ninety-seven percent goes to preventative services such as providing oral contraceptives, and live-saving services such as mammograms and testicular cancer screenings, according to data provided by Planned Parenthood in 2014. 

According to Laura Basset at the Huffington Post, “Eleven states have passed measures to block Title X funds from Planned Parenthood because its services include abortion, despite strong support for the nation’s largest family planning provider.” This shows that even though Planned Parenthood offers other services besides providing abortions, it still is at risk of being nationally defunded. 

Women’s right issues like this are brought up in an after school club called I Am That Girl. I Am That Girl is an organization which creates a safe environment for both women and men in their school. At Mineola High School, we get together every other Friday to talk about women in politics, the workplace, and society. We also talk about gender equality, including the infamous wage gap, and how to make the world safer for women and men. Undoubtedly, women have made history throughout the world, but if setbacks keep presenting themselves, the journey to gender equality is going to be a longer road than it already is. If more women are educated and stand together, the world would be a safer place for everyone. With women’s health at risk, who knows what'll be next for women’s rights.

I'm in my 38th year of teaching, 37 of them in Mineola.  I teach 8th and 11th grade English at the high school, and I am the adviser for the Question Mark, the high school newspaper.  I also am assistant director for the spring musical and the adviser for the Creative Writing Club. 

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