Inequalities Persist on Women’s Equality Day
August 26, 2016
Gender inequality is a pervasive issue that affects women and men across the nation. It helps explain why women are paid less than men for work of equal value – why women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence – why we are still having conversations about what women wear and how they look versus what they accomplish. (Look no further than the recent summer Olympics in Rio if you disagree.)
While there is no doubt that we have made strides toward equality as a nation, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) continues to draw attention to gender inequality, and the role it plays in domestic violence. When a woman is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds in the United States, and every day more than three women are murdered by a current or former intimate partner, it’s clear that there is more to be done. It is clear that we still need a Women’s Equality Day.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg notoriously said, “If I could choose an amendment to add to the Constitution, it would be the Equal Rights Amendment,” in 2014—91 years after it was initially introduced in Congress. Today, we are still wondering whether an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) will ever pass – and if it does, whether it will have the intended effect. Will an ERA help end domestic violence? Eventually, we think so.
With an ERA on the books, we can finally silence the endless debate about whether the framers intended for women to be included in the phrase “all men are created equal.” We can point to words in black and white that say “women and men are equal.” Domestic violence is the systemic use of abusive tactics to maintain power and control over another human being. Such abuse is harder to justify when both parties are seen as equal in the eyes of the law.
To quote Gloria Steinem, “Female equality is a majority belief, and the main problem is that people assume we already have it – that is, equal pay or the ERA. The same adversaries who used to say the movement was impossible are now saying that it’s over.”
We cannot be complacent now. Women’s equality cannot wait. Let’s close the book on this conversation, so that we can open the book on a brighter future for our daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters.