Women Still Fighting for Rights

Kaitlin Clark, Blue M Managing Editor

It’s 2017, still near the beginning of the 21st century. Women have jobs and can live their everyday lives freely. Because of this, we are equal… right? Around the world, women still fight every day for equality and representation.

Sexism has not disappeared, it has only changed forms. Sure, women have jobs, but it has been proven that we are, on average, paid less for equal work. Women are allowed to act freely in some parts of the world, but in others still face severe oppression. Even women locally are speaking out in hopes of women being better represented.  

We’ve heard it discussed on television broadcasts and have read it online, but many still dispute it: the wage gap. According to the American Association of University Women, women were nationally paid 80 percent of a man’s median salary in 2016. The same study found that women in Kansas made less than that: only 77 percent.  Women of other ethnicities make even less. This cannot continue.

Women in the workplace isn’t only a women’s issue; men should be supporting a move towards equality as well. Men who own businesses in particular should be supportive, because when men and women are given equal opportunity, the number of applicants who show potential increases. Opportunity should be based on talent, not gender. There’s been an increasing push for workplace equality, with a number of businesses taking steps to bridge the gap, but more must be done if women are to have equality in the professional world.

While women in America still fight for equal pay, women in other areas of the world are fighting for the rights many of us take for granted. After years of dependence, women in Saudi Arabia will soon be allowed to drive, following a royal declaration. The act is set to go into effect in June of 2018, and while this is a huge step forward for Saudi women, there are still challenges to be faced. Male guardianship laws are in place which require women to get a male guardian’s permission before doing some major things including getting married, filing a police complaint or applying for a passport. While steps have been taken in recent years to ease these laws, they still restrict women’s ability to live freely.

Women in Kansas are still fighting for representation. Locally, women have established a group called the League of Women Voters of Manhattan/Riley County. This group has no party affiliation, and it aims to educate more women about politics and help them register as voters. These local efforts will soon be affecting those of us in high school who plan on voting when of legal age.

Women are still fighting for equality, even though it’s not as obvious as it once was. Equality doesn’t mean that women are attempting to be better than men, only to have equal opportunity and representation. This is not a movement that affects only one gender, however. Men must fight as well if they are to see their mothers, sisters and daughters live in a world where all are equal. It may be a hard future to reach, but it is one that all should be fighting for.