A wine glass sits on a side table. A body cloaked in a silky robe. Feet propped up on an ottoman. Manicured nails adorn a hand that’s delicately holding a romance novel. This image paints the picture of a relaxed woman with nothing left to worry about. However, in today’s society, women are still plagued with inequality and discrimination. From the workplace, television, and even their own bodies, women face hardships that degrade them when compared to their male counterparts.
To this day, there is still a gender pay gap. According to cnbc.com, “Women are paid 20% less than their male counterparts for performing the same job.” To put that into numbers, a woman makes $0.76 to every dollar a man makes. These people went through similar processes, have similar education, perform same tasks for the same amount of hours, yet one gets paid more just because of their gender. Photo courtesy of pixabay.com
In television shows, women are still portrayed as the subordinate characters. In a study done by Boxed In, a company that writes a statistical analysis of women in prime-time television, 68% of the shows had male-dominated casts. Along with that, women only make up 42% of roles that actually speak. More so, across all platforms, women are more likely to play a role that typically portrays them as a wife, and is rarely featured in the workplace.Photo courtesy of flickr.com
Although female representation has increased in television shows, the portrayal of women is still lacking in prominent roles. Rather, women are normally portrayed as unimportant side characters meant to aide a man’s story. Rarely do we see women as the main character in a story that is not about love. That representation of women in Hollywood allows for viewers to think that a female’s major purpose in life is to serve a man in a romantic plot. Women makeup roughly half of the workforce and yet only a handful of television shows feature women in roles like a doctor, politician, teacher, police officers, firefighters, engineers, etc.
Lastly, according to the statistics from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted in college. Although all genders are at risk for sexual assaults, women are more vulnerable to it. Sexual assault has become so prevalent in college culture that police boxes are placed around the campus just in case someone needs security when walking back to their dorm at night. The prevalence of sexual assault among women has conditioned girls growing up to always be aware of their surroundings. Girls grow up believing that it’s their fault that they were assaulted because of what they were wearing and how they were acting. Society raised a generation that believed it was their fault because they were “asking for it”.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com
With the #MeToo campaign that swamped social media, women banded together to raise a generation to speak up about sexual assault. This campaign shared stories of sexual assault survivors. More importantly, it shared the message that women are not alone in this fight.
So, what does it mean to be a woman? It’s not about having long hair, big boobs, or knowing how to apply makeup. A woman is a person who should not be defined by physical characteristics. A woman is a person who is strong and resilient. They face the world head-on, knowing that the odds are against them, but still take every opportunity they get to seize the day. As each day passes, it’s another stepping stone to reach the equality that women deserve. Women strive to improve the world. To be a woman means to be powerful.Gif courtesy of giphy.com