It has been a long while since women were included in the workforce, and because of that, many people believe that Feminism is no longer necessary. But feminists want to remind non-feminist men and women alike that there are still several problems that Feminism can solve. The most pressing issue is pay inequality. In the United States, women’s earnings are 86% of what their male counterparts make. Women make up most of the minimum wage earners in America and only earn 72 cents for every dollar a man makes. In addition to this, women earn 57% less than their male counterparts in California. This gap is even more severe in specific industries, and for the most part, it’s often not because of discrimination; women are just less likely than men to go into specific fields. As a result, many women feel unfairly treated by the American economy.
Pay inequality affects everyone on a small scale or at more significant levels. A person’s pay represents their worth as an employee and their ability to care for themselves and their family. The pay disparity between men and women has a profound effect on their daily lives, but it can also have a role in who they end up with—and who they end up marrying. Women are just as likely to marry a man of the same socioeconomic background as them as marry someone of a higher socioeconomic status. This means that there might be women of lower socioeconomic level, whether due to their own choices or because their parents’ choices forced them into these positions that kept them from getting out. In America, about 30% of married women get divorced in their lifetimes. Wives and husbands often try to increase each other’s earning power by leaving an equal division of labor and household chores up to the other spouse. The wife will do these jobs that include childcare, cooking, cleaning, and other tasks more frequently than the husband.
In addition, women are now more and more likely to be the head of the household when they live without a man. When a woman is trying to do all of these jobs at once because she feels it’s her job as a woman to take on the housework or childcare and her husband doesn’t feel like he can ask for help around the house, then that adds another layer on top of all the others.
As in many places of the world, there are fewer women than men in STEM fields. In the United States, women make up 50% of college graduates, whereas only 20% of engineers and 25% of computer programmers are women. In some cases, even when they do get the degrees needed to enter the field they want, they still won’t get hired. Recently, women-only jobs and internships are starting to become more common. However, in the case of a woman having a family, it may not be possible for her to travel for an extended period required for working on an internship.
The ability to control when and if you have children is another major problem that Feminism still has the power to solve. Abortion is often not as easily accessible as we would like it to be. In fact, in many states within the U.S., there are no clinics that provide abortions at all. In the states that do have access to clinics that offer abortion, they are few and far between. People living in these states often drive to another state to get one, taking anywhere from a few hours to multiple days. In many cases, these people are on a stringent deadline because they want an abortion before the 10th week of pregnancy when it’s illegal.
In other cases, women with kids cannot work full-time due to childcare and the physical trauma of pregnancy and birth itself. The United States is one of 13 countries globally that does not have paid maternity leave, regardless of how many children a person has or whether their partner works.
Feminism has made a massive difference in how women are treated in the workplace and how much support they receive from employers. When working women are afforded equal opportunities, it allows them to move up in their careers. In the past, women could not be promoted unless they left their jobs, and they were called “Duchesses” because these women had to leave if they wanted another job. Today, women make up 50% of the professional workforce and are often chosen for promotions because they have better skills and bring more value to the company than men.
Another major problem that Feminism can still solve is harassment and sexual assault on a mass level. In most cases, women are still afraid to report their sexual assault and harassment for fear of retaliation for getting their abuser in trouble. Women are also afraid that no one will believe them if they go to the police or if they have a hard time getting justice if they do report it. With Feminism, there is more awareness surrounding these issues, and people are less likely to think that women are making up the problem or overreacting when they talk about it. Feminists want men and women alike to be aware of these problems so that victims of rape and abuse feel like they have an outlet where they can speak up without fear of being judged or retaliated against. In addition, Feminists want to educate men and women throughout the world about these issues so that they don’t make assumptions and negatively look at them.
Feminism can also help solve domestic violence and sexual assault. Women do not have many options when it comes to escaping dangerous situations. Either they get help from family members or risk death by being murdered. Many women cannot escape an abusive relationship due to their lack of finances and personal safety. In addition, women are often afraid that other people won’t believe them if they report their partner’s abuse for fear of being judged or called a crazy woman for trying to escape by herself.
There are multiple laws in place now to try and combat domestic abuse, but there are still many problems with reporting domestic violence and sexual assault cases. Women don’t always feel comfortable talking about it, especially if they have been conditioned to believe that those things should be kept behind closed doors. And even when the police show up at their house or workplace, the victims often worry about how it will affect their relationships with their family members who might support their abuser.
The only way to solve this problem is for people to speak up and say that they witnessed or experienced something, even if it’s uncomfortable for them to say something. It may start a chain reaction of women coming forward, which we need.