The presidential candidates have taken a clear focus to win the female vote, as it has been at the forefront of discussion and debate. Many believe that women will determine who the president is, though in the history of elections it is not as black and white as focusing on just men or women. Of course women will affect the coming election; they are roughly 50 percent of the population.
The more important issue is to realize why it is important for women to wake up and to protect their rights. Arguments from the Republican side cite statistics from The Bureau of Labor Statistics that 92 percent of jobs lost under Obama have been women’s jobs, while the Democrats contend that Republicans have been and continue to wage a war on women’s rights, from contraceptive use to basic human rights. What is clear is that women need be aware of what is going on in their country and the injustices that are happening before their eyes.
Planned Parenthood has been swarming the media, and even in our own newspaper, so little needs to be said about that. Though I will say that I in every way support Planned Parenthood, as it provides millions of low-income women with primary healthcare, along with providing valuable information to young girls about safe sex and STDs.
However, the problem does not only lie with Planned Parenthood, an article in The Huffington Post notes that there are several other attacks on women. GOP members of the House and Senate refuse to support the Violence Against Women Act because it includes lesbians and Native Americans. The Paycheck Fairness Act was passed in the House, but not in the Senate.
This bill would have worked to end inequalities in pay between genders. Several states are working to redefine “rape” while some states, such as Georgia, are looking to change the term “victims of rape” to “accuser.” According to the Huffington Post, the Protect Life Act that was passed in the House in 2011 was a bill that would allow federally funded hospitals that oppose abortion to refuse to do them, even if the mother’s life is at risk.
In Maryland, republicans cut Head Start, a federally funded program that serves as a preschool for low-income families. Two Republican officials stood by their choice, arguing that education starts at home, and spoke highly of their stay-at-home wives. Essentially, they believe the program is unnecessary because women staying at home strengthens marriages, and communities, and after all that is a woman’s place.
I am not trying to attack either side of the political spectrum, but rather I am trying to stress to women that equality has not been met. I am not an extreme feminist, but I do believe in the general equality for all humankind, whether that be based on gender, sexual orientation, race or anything of the like.
Author Jessica Valenti shows that gender inequality is not at the forefront of our society because basic human rights have been met; women can vote, women can work and there are domestic violence laws in place. However, she argues that we should not settle with basic human rights, but should continue to fight for equality.
Injustices and inequality plague our country and our world, but that doesn’t mean we ignore them all because there are too many, we simply work on them one step at a time.
Berentson is a senior majoring in English and Spanish. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.