Many people think that the women’s suffrage in the United States was the end of the feminist movement. However, they are definitely mistaken because feminism is still an important movement today, all over the world. In developing countries, feminism saves lives. In many places, women still don’t have equal rights like being able to attend school, drive, or vote. Even in developed countries, women may not be paid the same for equal work or cannot determine their own reproductive rights.
Feminism is especially needed in places where women’s rights are not equivalent to human rights. For example, in Yemen, women cannot leave the house by themselves or seriously testify in court. There are many groups, such as Human Rights Watch, that are advocating for women’s right in Yemen. For now, Yemen remains the worst place in the world to live as a woman. Even without legislation against women, they still are unequal in some parts of the world. In developing countries, only 33% of girls are in school. This leads to an economic disparity that puts women at even more of a disadvantage, and doesn’t allow them to think for themselves and lead their own lives.
Even though the problems in developing countries seem much more pressing than anything that could possibly be affecting women in the United States and similar places, it’s crucial to understand that progress in women’s rights isn’t a subjective matter. In the United States, a country in which women have been able to vote in for 95 years, women still are paid an unequal amount (to men) for equal work. The U.S. stands at 20th in the world, in terms of equal pay, but women are still paid only 78% of what men are paid, for the same work. As mentioned earlier, women also still cannot determine their own reproductive rights. Legislation regarding abortion and contraception is led by a predominantly male congress, only 19.1% are women.
Most importantly the Equal Rights Amendment has never been ratified and women do not have constitutional protection.
It’s important to understand that feminism advocates for political, social, and economic equality between the sexes. Until these things are achieved, feminism will remain a significant part of American culture. It’s crucial that feminism is 100% inclusive, it important to take note of third wave feminism, which includes women of color and LGBTQ+ women. Feminism will not become a vestige of the past until its goals are thoroughly achieved and all women are treated equally to men.
Written by: Prathusha Yeruva, Oakland/Macomb NOW Intern