Let's Talk: Women's Equality Today

It seems that almost every day, there is a new story regarding the unfair judgement of women and the consequences of their actions. In a time when we are in dire need of more female role models, women are being diminished by the idealism of men.  While males thrive in the environment that they work in, whether it be athletics, business, entertainment, or school, females continue to be looked down upon and diminished without justification.

This year has been a turning point for women sexually, professionally, and socially. While many other women, including I, argue that we are treated unfairly, others will argue that females get special treatment. Regardless of where you stand, there are differences that need to be recognized and ultimately eliminated.

The end of Hope Solo’s contract with the U.S National Team ended after first being issued a suspension for a comment regarding the Swedish soccer team, calling them “cowards” after an Olympic match. Despite her noteworthy career of record shutouts, her career was ended after a few simple words. While we can mention her history of domestic abuse charges and the aggressiveness towards authority, her contract was terminated while abusive players from men’s sports can continue their careers with a small interruption of court appearances. If we look at just the NFL alone this year, there are 27 active players who have faced criminal charges, six of them being for domestic abuse. We could also look at how much money they make, how expensive their contracts are, the logistics of their possible termination, and how much revenue they bring to a sports team and a city - but why does that stop us from questioning moral standards for people we admire and praise regularly?

It feels it is as though what matters is the worst qualities of a female alongside the best qualities of a male. We condone rape culture and justify it as “20 minutes of action” (we all know what I’m bringing up) because he is a man with a future. Being able to get away with a sexual assault and only serve three months of jail because he was a future Olympic swimmer who aspired to be a doctor shows where our priorities lie. It is not the protection of a woman and her human rights, it is the protection of a man and his privilege to walk around comfortably. While he walks around freely, she is continuously looked down upon by those who know of her past rather than thinking about her future. Not only were Brock Turner and many others given light sentences, they experience an easier court setting than the victims. Judges, lawyers, doctors, and police officers will ask him what his plans were that night and how much he had to drink, BUT they will not ask him what he was wearing, if his friends were around, if he was teasing her, if he led her on, if he could walk straight, or how many people he has slept with in his life.

We are given dress codes and we are told we dress inappropriately when we show our shoulders. We are condemned when we get too trashed from a night of drinking. We get stereotyped as being too emotional because maybe we cried that first time we took some shots of tequila. We have to worry about walking to the car from our best friend’s porch steps. We’ll get sent home from school because you can see our knees. But why did you have to sexualize our knees in the first place? Why did you have to sexualize a girl’s school uniform rather than talking about what a great school she goes to and acknowledge how bright her future could be after graduating?

And while you sexualize her, she is most likely earning a degree that deserves a nice paycheck. Unfortunately, she is not getting the paycheck that her hard work in education and experience have earned her. We are still earning 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes. If that wasn’t enough, being a Hispanic woman would only earn me 55 cents for that dollar, 84 cents for an Asian-American woman, and 60 cents for an African-American woman. We could have identical GPAs, degrees, and job experience, but no one is wondering at what point you are planning on starting a family that will remove you from your job.

While we try to live our lives to our greatest potential, we face barriers every day that others still deny. We can not walk freely at night without a fear of encountering anyone without a threat. As much as we don’t want to fear our friends, colleagues, and school mates, there is still a thought in the back of our mind that reminds us of danger. As enthusiastic as we are to study what we love, it is discouraging to know that we may not get a job offer or get paid as much as the next person. You can look at our accomplishments but so far, they are undermined by someone else’s. That’s what we’re fighting for. While you think that we are crazy, emotional, and needy, we are actually fighting for the basic rights that you have. We want to go to war without people worrying about us breaking a nail. We want to get the same pay. We want to be labeled “smart” rather than “pretty”, “persistent” rather than “needy”.

I will not attack anyone for their rights, but I will speak about the rights that I deserve as a human being. The parts of my body that make us different do not determine how successful I can be.  I won’t accept being seen as inferior because of what generations before have been taught is correct.

 

Photo Credits: 1 2 3 4 5