Today.....August 26th is Women's Equality Day. The 19th Amendment was certified as part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920. This Amendment gave women the right to vote, and supposedly we were to have equal rights. In our country women today are "mostly" equal to men. There are still discrepancies in pay, and opportunities, depending on where you live, but on the whole life is much better for women.
I remember my Grandmother's pride when she would tell us about being the first Woman hired at McGraw-Hill to earn the same salary as a man. She was a mechanical engineer, and had a fascinating upbringing.
I remember whining about things that I didn't think were fair in life, usually when it came to my brother or his friends being able to do more than I was allowed to do. My Grandmother would be very stern and tell me that I wasn't her Granddaughter if I was going to whine. She expected me to follow my dreams, work hard, and never let anyone tell me I couldn't do something. Women were equal in her eyes.
Then I had my mother...another very strong woman. She raised 5 kids on her own after her marriage failed. I remember her working 2 jobs, and also knew she gave up her own dreams once she became a parent. She had wanted to be a PE Teacher, but apparently they had to move around a lot as my father was in the Service. My mother taught me not to let anyone take advantage of you in business.
I was raised to be a strong woman, but not everyone is. I know many women that believe the man is more important, and his needs are more important. Well, to me this is such a strange concept. Overseas I ran into this a lot. Some of the countries are very Patriarchal, and it's amazing to me how women are treated. Even today.
During my time in the Peace Corps I was shocked at how women were treated. My friend over there was whining one day that she needed a man because her car was on empty. What? I asked her why she just didn't pump the gas herself (this was in 1997) .
It was such an ordeal that even though I wanted to laugh, I couldn't. For years my friend would say with pride that she learned to pump gas. Pumping Gas was such a trivial thing to me, having grown up Independent and Strong, and Equal. But in a country that doesn't value women it was; although it was not just cultural, but a lack of self esteem brought on by culture.
Yes, because of the 19th Amendment and because of the strong women in my life I was able to help many other women overseas in their quest for a better life. Whatever our station in life, or nationality, as women we need to help each other realize we are indeed equal.
Sometimes though Cultural Influences are difficult to overcome. Working within the confines of the laws of the Nation are important, and all American Women can thank their parents and Grandparents for the suffering they went through in order for us to be equal today.
If you need any further evidence of how far we've come in this country look at the Presidential Race......never before had a Woman even been considered, let alone almost get her Party Nomination. Never before have we been able to be all that we can be.....
The United States is further along than many countries, however there are still a lot of women that are marginalized.
Here are some of the issues still affecting Women around the World.
Human Trafficking-This has been, and still is a major issue. Women and Children are sold for the sexual pleasure of others, sometimes in their own country and sometimes they are smuggled into another country. This degradation occurs with such regularity that it is one of the worst crimes against women and children, yet in America we rarely hear about it.
Prostitution-Young girls (boys too) are sent out onto the streets by their parents, or caregivers to earn money. Pimps take in Street Children and Prostitute them out. And even in affluent countries like America prostituting the unwilling takes place.
Domestic Violence-Across the world women are abused, every minute of the day. In many Societies women are not considered equal. So if their husband beats them, or brother, or any other male, there isn't anything they can do.
Education- Women do not have equal access to education in many countries. The man is assumed to be the one that needs to be educated, one reason being so he can provide for his family.
Justice/Legal- Women's rights are not universal. Many women do not have equal protection under the law. Men are allowed to accuse a woman of any crime, and the woman cannot fight back. Women are still excluded from owning property in some countries. They're killed for supposedly " not honoring" their husband, genital mutilation is still practiced, and many are forced into early pre-arranged marriages.
Today, August 26th, as an American Woman I am very grateful for the women that fought for our equal rights. Also,today as a Woman I am saddened that these issues are still as prevalent as they were during my time in the Peace Corps (1997-2000)
Women's Equality Day for America.....Women everywhere should also be equal....
By: Kathy McGraw- CELLing Realty