On Women's Equality Day, Has Anything Changed For Women Over The Last Year?
Happy Women’s Equality Day, ladies! Maybe you didn’t even know this day existed at all, because, well, look at your paycheck and last night’s Emmy Awards. Designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day, President Barack Obama noted that “women are succeeding like never before.” But he was also quick to add that "despite these gains, the dreams of too many mothers and daughters continue to be deferred and denied."
Because, well, of course. If I were to sit here and make a list of all that still needs to be changed in order for gender quality to be a real, live thing, I’d be a very old woman by the time I was done.
Whoever thought that we’d still need a reminder for women's equality in 2014, 94 years after women got the right to vote in 1920? I’m looking directly at you, Supreme Court Justices. (My girl, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, is excluded for all obvious reasons, like being awesome.)
Although we can't cover the half of it, let’s take a look at where we are — right now — in our fight for gender equality. Has much changed from last year’s Women’s Equality Day? Here's a look at what's gotten better, what's stayed the same, and what's gotten worse.
BETTER: MO'NE DAVIS is THE 18TH GIRL TO PLAY IN THE LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES
I'm not going to disregard the fact that discrimination for women in sports is still a real thing, but Mo'ne Davis clearly represents progress. Not only did she grace the cover of Sports Illustrated , but she took back the most ridiculous insult in the world — "throwing like a girl" — when she told CBS news, "Throwing 70 miles an hour — that’s throwing like a girl." Yeah, it is.
WORSE: THIS HAPPENED LAST NIGHT
When Sofia Vergara took to the spinning pedestal last night during the Academy President’s speech at the Emmy Awards, I’m pretty sure there was a collective groan followed by a collective, “Are you f#$ing kidding me?” Though the Twitter outrage was a sign of progress, Vergara didn’t see a problem with being put on display as if she were just an object for ogling and not a human being, proof that some things are just the worst.
better: this happened the night before
BETTER: THE U.N. IS MAKING WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY A GOAL
At the 58th session of the Commission of the Status of Women at the United Nations headquarters in New York City this past March, world leaders agreed upon a "standalone goal" to make gender equality and women's rights one of their main focuses for the coming year. This effort will include access to education for girls and women everywhere, as well as employment and equal pay.
WORSE: SCOTUS THINKS THAT OUR EMPLOYERS SHOULD HAVE A SAY IN OUR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
Nothing says moving backward like the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States decided to side with religious companies like Hobby Lobby instead of women when it came to birth control coverage this year. Nice work, you guys! You just set us back decades!
SAME: THE AMOUNT OF WOMEN IN POLITICS IS STILL HEARTBREAKINGLY SMALL...
America ranks 97th in the world when it comes to the number of women in national government. Greatest country in the world, you say? Oh, totally! If you're a white man.
BETTER: FEMALE LEADERS ARE ON THE RISE worldwide
To date, 71 countries have had women in the position of either president or prime minister, which is awesome! However, the U.S. is not on that list. (That, of course, might be changing very soon...)
WORSE: The SUPREME COURT THINKS BULLYING OUTSIDE ABORTION CLINICS IS FREE SPEECH
When the Supreme Court decided to nix the 35-foot buffer zone for protesters outside abortion clinics this year, it seriously failed to protect women and their right to choose.
SAME: WOMEN STILL MAKE 77 CENTS TO EVERY DOLLAR THAT MEN MAKE (EVEN AT THE SAME COMPANY!)
I feel like this one is so absurd that there are just no words for it anymore. To add to that absurdity, this past April, the Senate Republicans blocked a vote to even get the Paycheck Fairness Act on the floor for discussion. The Act might have helped in forcing companies to pay both their male and female employees the same amount for the same position and responsibilities. And need I remind you that Jill Abramson may have been fired this year for possibly asking for a raise?
WORSE: RECENT Survey reveals COMPANIES DON'T WANT TO HIRE WOMEN OF 'CHILDBEARING AGE'
If you're a woman in your 20s or 30s or, as the manager of a company sees you, of "childbearing age," there's a very good chance that you'll lose out to a man of equal qualification and the same age. Why? Because obviously you're going to have a child any day now and cost the company money not just through production loss, but all that "wasted" money that will go to your maternity leave. Worse.
BETTER: THE BAN BOSSY MOVEMENT
While men get called "assertive," or a "leader," women usually end up being branded "bossy" — or, even more annoying, a "bitch." But this year, a major initiative was taken to ban the word bossy as a way to silence women. Ban Bossy taught us that we're not bossy — as Beyoncé said, we're "the boss." We're all bosses.