Thank you to everyone who took the time to react, share or comment on this post. Our WOMENS RIGHTS shirt ad was the first of many ads we plan to run thru Facebook, it took me a little longer than expected to respond, but I look forward to the responses and opinions everyone has to offer.
My personal understanding of the recent women’s rights sentiment is that some women feel threatened by the views of some of our elected officials and worry about the legislation they affect relating to women’s health care and equal pay.
Those feelings intensified when a man who has publicly stated he doesn’t respect women was elected President of the US.
I found it interesting that most of the negative responses came from women, both on Facebook and at several events where I’ve set up a booth and sold shirts in the past. Some of the comments on Facebook were along of the lines of – women do have the same rights, if not more than men and to “get over it.” When the issue of equal pay for equal work was brought up, there were a couple responses saying basically that it is a dead issue “that has been debunked for years” and that “most economists would agree.” Someone cited the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and basically copied and pasted the first couple sentences from the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Pay_Act_of_1963
Which, if you just read the first paragraph sounds like wage discrimination did indeed end back in 1963. If you read a little deeper though you will see that this law had little effect in actually ending wage discrimination. The heavy burden of proof on the plaintiff along with the fact that employers still had a way, legally within the new law to justify unequal pay for equal work made it virtually impossible to enforce the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which aimed to fix the problems in the 1963 law, has been voted down multiple times in Congress. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paycheck_Fairness_Act
According to the ACLU women still make just 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. Black women earn only 64 cents and Latinas only 54 cents for each dollar earned by white men. https://www.aclu.org/issues/womens-rights#current
Other than the brief mention of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 nobody provided any real evidence of any kind to back-up their statements. Which is not surprising, given the anonymity and one-sided nature of interactions that can occur online people are emboldened to spit out one or two line remarks and not feel the need to have truth behind what they say. It is also easier nowadays for people to be “against” something than to be “for” something. This issue could be a whole blog post on it’s own because when you don’t know yourself, who you are and what you stand for, how can you be “for” anything?
“Truths” in many cases these days are no longer backed by knowledge, they are backed by an individual’s own personal experiences. I believe this to be the main reason why women who would say they do have the same rights as men think that. They have never experienced a situation where they felt they had fewer rights. Or maybe they did and didn’t recognize the situation, which would speak to the issue in a much larger manner.
Why is it so hard for people to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and have a little empathy? Just because you personally have never felt what someone else is going thru, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going thru what they claim to be. Let’s be honest, women do have it very good in this country. Is the situation ideal on all levels? No. But without a doubt our country has led the way regarding issues of equality in many forms, while lagging behind at times as well. But our country should have the feeling that if some of our fellow citizens feel marginalized then we should all feel marginalized.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.