Imagine living in a world where you are the property of your spouse. You could not vote, obtain an education or even work. For a very long time, this was the unfortunate reality for women.
According to the National Women’s History Project, until the early 1900’s women in the U.S. were not allowed to vote or hold office. Married women could not own property, and everything belonged to their husbands. In addition to this, women had little to no access to higher education and received little to no opportunities to enter the workforce, especially in professions like law and medicine.
Unfortunately, women still face many problems in today’s society. Professor of English and gender studies Kathleen Waites said that women are still being mistreated in the workplace. Waites explained that women are often ostracized in STEM fields like engineering and computer science.
She said, “Women are more equal than before, but not equal.” This inequality is shown in a variety of ways, especially with pay. Women on average earn less than men, and according to the NY Times, men named John run more big companies than women as a whole.
Furthermore, violence towards women still occurs in the form of emotional, sexual and physical abuse. With all the violence aimed towards women the #MeToo movement was created to help women and girls heal after experiencing sexual violence. Now, the movement has expanded their focus to helping women from all over the country, especially ones from underrepresented groups. Waites also highlighted that it is important for movements like these to protect women from the lower end of the socio-economic class, because they are very vulnerable to people in positions of power.
With obstacles standing in their way, women’s rights groups have made great strides to improve the quality of life for women around the country. Women have the right to vote, and it is illegal for the workplace to discriminate against anyone based on sex. Due to this, women have flooded the career pool and dominate professions that their ancestors never had the access to.
Women’s rights groups also ensured the access to education for all girls across the country. Before, women had no opportunities to enter higher education, but according to the U.S. Department of Education, women comprise of at least 56 percent of students on college campuses across the country.
Clearly, women have made advancements in society and improved the living conditions for generations to come, but the fight for equality is far from over. There are a few ways to get involved and help out the feminist movement. Anyone can get involved with Planned Parenthood, the He for She Movement and many other activist groups.
Most importantly, NSU has an RSO called the American Association of University Women (AAUW). This is a student chapter on campus that allows students to get involved and make a difference.