One of the first significant women’s marches took place in 1789 to protest the prolonged food shortages in Versailles. This uprising against King Louis XVI of France was among the events that marked the French Revolution. Even though it’s been more than two hundred years, and the problems addressed today are vastly different from any problems addressed in the pre-revolution era in Europe, there are striking similarities in the way protests break out against government.
The now-annual Women’s March broke out for the first time in 2017 as an uprising against the Trump administration, and specifically President Donald Trump’s allegedly sexist and anti-women ideology reflected in his rhetoric. Remarks such as wanting to punish women for getting abortions, calling breastfeeding “disgusting” and repeatedly objectifying women’s bodies, won him this infamy.
The 2017 Women’s March was the largest one-day protest in U.S. history that continued as an ongoing movement. While its original mission was to address issues such as equality in everyday life and protection of domestic, personal and civil rights, the focus has rapidly shifted. It now appears to lean toward defending workers’ rights, relatively undermining the pursuance of universal human rights.
Unquestionably, the women’s movement is rightfully demanding equal treatment for women in professional and political spheres. However, it isn’t as pressing a matter as that of a significant number of women who still live unsafe and dictated lives in their own homes.
The well-being and safety of women continues to be in jeopardy, not just in smaller developing countries, but in developed nations that do a fairly good job of masking those faults. According to Human Rights Watch, the Trump administration mitigated the protection of women’s rights such as the freedom from and action against domestic violence, and imposed restrictions on reproductive rights in the United States itself. Throughout the last three years, women have become increasingly agitated in the U.S., showing women’s rights are violated in one of the strongest countries in the present world.
Women comprise 67 percent of the global illiterate population, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Additionally, only 53 percent of women between 15 and 64 years old participate in the labor force, according to numbers from the International Labor Organization. There mustn’t exist any hesitation in prioritizing the protection of the basic human rights over the negotiations of equality in professional life, as employment will follow literacy and social equality. Denial of these basic rights keeps the women from treading into the world of politics and business.
Addressing the gender pay gap issue, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) spoke up for women and said, “if women made up 51 percent of Congress, there’s no way we’d still be fighting to get equal pay for equal work. Let’s elect more women on Tuesday to finally get it done.” Although equal wages are a right, it’s disheartening to see how women in power, who are idolized as feminists, overlook the needs of the women denied basic human rights.
More so, this statement is misleading because the economic trends reveal the pay gap has reduced by over 50 percent in the last fifty years. The slowed down growth of salaries since the 2008 recession has resulted in a slow reduction of the pay gap. The senator’s words aren’t propaganda but are representative of thoughts of similar women rebelling in the name of feminism.
While remnants of gender discrimination still exist, a micro view of the situations by the general public is driving the women’s movement into a phase of women dominance. It’s now edging on a disregard for men’s rights as humans and threatening the stability and equality America strives to achieve. Clearly, a balanced and reasonable approach is needed. The key to professional and economic equality for women best lies in social equality and education.
It’s indeed heartening to see an increase in women’s literacy, although it’s slow. A corresponding rise in female representation in politics and participation in professional jobs can be expected to follow. Therefore, it’s of utmost priority that the Women’s March strives toward ensuring the universal rights of safety and free will in personal, educational and civil matters for women.
As we progress toward a safer, literate and informed life for women, the fight for women workers’ rights can be duly advanced. Women, society at large and the administration need to work together toward a well-guided positive action. Misdirected action and overcorrection have the potential of disturbing the social fabric. The matter is delicate and requires deeper thought, a careful understanding and meticulous handling.