Few people would argue that the United States is a shining example of gender equality, but it's startling to realize just how intentionally women are subjugated in American society. While feminist attitudes have broadened and become more popular in recent decades, there is plenty of structural lag in seeing those attitudes realized, particularly in the legal sphere. Here are seven laws that reinforce sexism on a daily basis that are still on the books, proving that there is still a long way to go before this country's laws truly ensure equality.
The great news is that things have been slowly but surely getting better for women in America. For instance, President Obama signed the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act into law last year, guaranteeing victims some important rights like prompt processing of rape kits and making sure victims don't have to pay for the kits to be preserved. Sadly, this progress may slow during the current presidential term, since Donald Trump is proposing sexist policies, such as only allowing women to take paid maternity leave and potentially overturning Roe v. Wade by appointing strongly conservative justices to the Supreme Court. The possible regression under Trump's presidency is scary af, but there's important work you can do now — fight to overturn these seven, already existing, sexist laws.
Rapists' Parental Rights
If a child is conceived during a rape, the attacker is still legally entitled to parental rights unless the victim decides to go through a lengthy legal battle to fight them. It's a vile law that makes victims have to associate with their rapists, and it essentially contends that rape isn't a bad enough indicator of the attacker's temperament to disqualify them from being a parent.
Revenge Porn Isn't Illegal Nationwide
While most states have laws punishing people who post sexually explicit videos of others without their consent online, a few are still holding out. It's wrong no matter who does it to whom, but it's specifically sexist because women are far more likely to be victims than men.
Laws Requiring Women To Wear Shirts
The Global Gag Rule
21,700 young women could die because of Trump's global gag rule. Here's how: pic.twitter.com/N4KilC5hkh— Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) March 2, 2017
Trump reinstated this sexist rule that won't let healthcare providers in other countries who receive funds from the United States counsel women about abortion mere days after his inauguration, so there's already definitive proof that he wants to deny women safe and legal options for their reproduction.
The Selective Service
Despite the fact that there hasn't been a military draft in nearly 50 years, American men are still forced to sign up for the selective service when they turn 18, whereas women are not. It's a pretty insulting idea if you think about it — if there was a large enough war to warrant drafting people into service, the country would deserve the best of all genders to fight.
Abortion Misinformation Is Not Only Encouraged, It's Mandated
In several states, doctors are legally required to provide medically inaccurate information to women seeking abortions. It's absolutely enraging that the patriarchy is still allowed to be that openly manipulative of women who are obviously in need of guidance and compassion.
Prostitution And Human Trafficking Laws
The moral arguments of prostitution are tricky, but one thing's for sure — women should not be punished for being forced into human trafficking. According to CNN, underaged human trafficking victims are much more likely to be arrested than their johns or pimps, and that's got to change.