The Future is Female: An Uprising

Is it still a man’s world? This question plagues the minds of many women every day, and unfortunately, it still seems to be true. One way this is prevalent is through the gender pay gap. Women on average make 82% of what men do for completing the same work, reported Pew Research Center. A junior at Cedar Cliff High School, 17, believes it is time women are equal to men.

“There is absolutely no reason women should receive lesser pay than men for completing the same work. Not only is this practice unfair and unjust to women, but it teaches young boys that they will never have to work as hard as their female counterparts to earn the same pay,” she said. She believes change is coming and that it is not a matter of if but when. “I know women will one day see the change they deserve, but when it will happen is the ultimate question.”

Women also pay much more for their toiletries and common products such as socks than men do. A 2.7 ounce stick of men’s Degree deodorant costs $2.49; whereas, a 2.6 ounce stick of women’s Degree deodorant costs $4.19. With the pay gap and increased prices of products for women, many end up in poverty. “Across the U.S., 15.5% of women live in poverty compared with 11.9 percent of men …, ” said Marie Claire. Women are not taking to these discriminations lightly, and many are beginning to take a stand and fight for equality in pay and other areas like they did many years ago when battling for the right to vote.

In recent years the feminist movement has had an extreme increase and uprising in supporters across the country and many other parts of the world. The feminist movement largely developed in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries, and continued through the 20th and into the 21st, with a large uprising in 2017 following the election of Donald Trump. On the day after Trump was inaugurated, January 21, 2017, a protest of hundreds of thousands of people formed on the capital, demonstrating against “ … the Trump administration and the perceived threat it represented to reproductive, civil and human rights,” reported History. Not only did protests take place that day on the nation’s capital, but in cities across the country and internationally. Over 4.1 million people were involved, all demonstrating their backing of the resistance movement. This protest was known as the Women’s March and revamped the movement as a whole. From that day forward, women have not rested in their quest for equal rights and will not until change is made.

This first wave of feminism largely stemmed from women fighting for the right to vote and other legal matters. The second wave, also referred to as the “women’s movement,” came into effect in the 1960s and 70s. Britannica reported this uprising focused on all aspects of women’s lives.

The catalyst for the second movement was the publication of Betty Friedan’s 1963 book entitled The Feminine Mystique. In her book she discusses, “ … the problem that ‘lay buried, unspoken’ in the minds of the suburban housewife: utter boredom and lack of fulfillment. Women who had been told that they had it all-nice houses, lovely children, responsible husbands-were deadened by domesticity, she said, and they were too socially conditioned to recognize their own desperation,” reported Britannica.

Women across America were energized by Friedan’s work even joining with “…government leaders and union representatives who had been lobbying the federal government for equal pay and for protection against employment discrimination,” said Britannica.

Unfortunately, this laid-back approach would not be enough to make a change; a substantial course of action would need to be taken. American women needed their own national pressure group equivalent to the NAACP. Thus, on June 30, 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed. It was an immediate success, and by the end of the organization’s second year, it had 1,035 members and had gained support from ideological divisions. Other more radical women’s rights groups formed as well during this time. They pursued women’s liberation with a broader perspective. While these groups did not have the same national structure as NOW, they began showing up across major cities like Chicago, Toronto, Seattle, Detroit, and many others.

“Suddenly, the women’s liberation movement was everywhere--and nowhere. It had no officers, no mailing address, no printed agenda. What it did have was attitude,” reported Britannica.

NOW’s point of view and those of the radical groups contrasted greatly. The leaders of NOW preferred the relaxed approach of lobbying the government and other national corporations such as NASA for reform; whereas, the more radical women preferred interrupting legislative hearings. These groups were not just searching for reform; they were building a revolution. By 1965 women had gained access to almost all jobs, and employers known for being discriminatory had to increase their number of women workers and provide proof in the form of time tables.

Among the other accomplishments around this time, according to Britannica, were women gained the equal ability to file for divorce that men always had; they were no longer allowed to be fired for being pregnant; they gained more opportunities and study programs in colleges and universities; and they began to run for and win political office positions. 1972 and 1973 were also big years for the feminist movement. In the former year, Congress put into effect Title IX of the Higher Education Act, “ … which prohibited discrimination of on the basis of sex in any educational program receiving federal funds and thereby forced all-male schools to open their doors to women and athletic programs to sponsor and finance female sports teams,” said Britannica. In the latter year, abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court. Both of these rulings made important strides for women’s rights, and made it clear that the women of America would not back down until change was made.

A male sophomore at Cedar Cliff, 15, said, “I think the feminist movement is definitely making steps in the right direction and will hopefully lead to positive change.” This sophomore also believes reformation is inevitable. “I think changes will definitely be made, maybe even sooner than most expect.”

The feminist movement is a strong uprising that has been around for years and will only grow in prevalence as time goes on. Females across the world are creating a revolution and making it known that the future is, in fact, female. 

Images from Wikimedia Commons

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