The Women’s Rights Movement and the continuing struggle for women to close the wage gap and combat violent acts such as rape and domestic violence in modern society, through awareness and action.
The first women’s rights gathering happened over a hundred years ago in 1848 and women are still struggling to find equality. Through the Women’s Rights Movement momentum was started and helped achieve basic rights for women. Through this momentum voting rights where established, birth control clinics where opened and sexual harassment became discrimination. Also in 1903 the National Women’s Trade Union League was formed to advocate improved work conditions and better wages for women.
While education and experience often play the biggest part to career advancement, women are often overlooked for promotions or raises. Women’s earnings as a percent of men’s earnings have recently been on the decline for most women under 55 years of age. As you can see from the graph represented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that outlines the annual averages of women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s from 1979 to 2012. In an article from the White House it states that a woman by the age of 65 will have lost $431,000 over her working life to the earnings gap. Continuing on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2012 the largest percentages of job roles maintained by women are dental hygienists, teachers and secretaries.
Sarah Swanson a New Mexico resident who previously worked for law enforcement in Colorado had this to say about women and job roles. “I believe that women are overcoming set roles in different career fields.”
Continuing Swanson said, “I’ve worked in two heavily male-dominated fields; law enforcement and software. In law enforcement, civilian staff is heavily female, but a high majority of law enforcement officers are male.”
With this background in law enforcement Swanson did say, “One other thing I heard a lot of is that women should protect themselves against rape; don’t wear that, don’t drink too much, and so on. A woman should be completely safe naked and passed out in a bush.”
Additionally Swanson went on to say, “Instead of saying she shouldn’t have done something, how about putting the onus on the perpetrator to not rape? Rape is an act of a criminal.”
While women are still struggling to find equality they are also often the targets of violent acts such as rape and domestic violence. A report release by the White House, Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action reveals that one in five women have been raped in their lifetimes and most victims know their assailants. The study also states that women of all races are targeted but some are more vulnerable such as multicultural women and Native American women being in the highest percentages of targeted sexual assault and rape. In New Mexico alone only 7% of suspects were arrested in rapes involving female victims. This comes from the Sex Crimes in New Mexico analysis of the 2012 data involving interpersonal violence. In most cases where victims know their assailants, repeated assaults could continue due to the low rate of suspect arrests.
Swanson with her background in law enforcement stated that, “I definitely have some experience in cases where women were victimized. From the statistics I’ve seen, women are most vulnerable to domestic violence when they’re pregnant.”
She goes on to add, “I would also say that women are often victimized when they don’t have a lot of options; say, when they have children that are being supported by the perpetrator, or the perpetrator is the victim’s supervisor, being two examples.”
Lastly Swanson stated, “Women generally want the same treatment, respect, and opportunities as anyone else does.”
President Barack Obama and his Administration have been taking action to end sexual assault and rape. As part of the national effort President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on January 22nd, 2014 to help combat sexual assault and rape. This is in the hopes of protecting victims of sexual assault and rape by changing the responses and common social outlook upon these acts so every American can feel safe to pursue their dreams.