Women Still Losing the Battle for Equal Rights in 2014
If you hadn’t heard — meaning of course you had no access to television, internet, mobile data, or human contact — we had an election on Tuesday. The headlines were predictable in their predictions, telling the nation which party would most likely win the U.S. Senate. Yesterday we were accosted with news stories of the Republican takeover, states legalizing marijuana, and a few stories made their way to the front pages about the states that raised their minimum wages (finally). What the hundreds of news outlets covering the election failed to mention, though, is that women are still losing in the battle for equal rights in 2014.
Tennessee, North Dakota, and Colorado all had proposed amendments that would outlaw abortions of any kind — even those that would save a mother’s life. These measures in North Dakota and Colorado also would have banned the use of birth control methods like the pill or intrauterine devices. Had those measures gone through, women would not have access to life-saving medication or procedures. Unfortunately in Tennessee, the abortion service restrictions were approved, and by all accounts will become stricter.
Yet again, the nation has focused on abortion as a hot topic — endangering women’s health in the constant struggle between a majority of white men.
What about women’s rights?
In 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have given women equal rights under the constitution, was introduced to Congress. It was not until 1972 that it passed through for ratification, and by 1982 only 35 states had ratified it. It has been introduced to Congress again and again since then, never reaching the point of ratification in that body.
Now in 2014 we are still waiting for the Equal Rights Amendment to become law. Meanwhile, only one state in the entire United States — Oregon — had a women’s rights act on the ballot. And guess what? It went through! But where in the hundreds of news stories on major news outlets are the stories about that? And why is it that in the year 2014 only one state proposed equal rights for women? Many states have equal opportunity employment clauses, but where is the nationwide call for women’s rights?
But hey, at least we know which party controls the senate.
How is it, that for a country that claims to be so forward-thinking, we can be so backward? How is it that women are still considered less than men in the eyes of society and in the eyes of the law? When will we, as a nation, get over the petty rivalries that keep opposing political parties in the news rather than the important issues that would make America better?