The Third Wave

photo courtesy https://www.clker.com/clipart-63588.html

photo courtesy https://www.clker.com/clipart-63588.html

Meghan Cahill, Staff Writer

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Women’s rights. Out of all the countries in the world the U.S is number 16 for the best country based off of women’s rights. We have come a long way for equality, but why aren’t we fully there yet? The reason most commonly known is the wage gap. For every dollar men earn, women make only 70 cents. Not only is this injustice, but it’s also become a critical situation because in 6 out of 10 American families’ women are the primary or co-breadwinner. Not just the wage gap, but women’s reproductive rights have also taken a turn with our new president in office. Many women no longer have the choice of abortion due to Trump taking away funding for pro-choice services like planned parenthood. 270,000 sexual assaults occur each year in the U.S, with an increase especially in the military, and if a woman gets pregnant now, on top of being assaulted, they also have no choice if they want to keep the baby?

Violence against women has spiked over the last couple of years, not only with sexual assaults, but also with domestic violence: 1 out of 3 homicide victims who are women, are killed by a partner. So, although the U.S is number 16 out of all the countries in the world, there are still many problems with equality occurring in our country. But, even after explaining all those issues in the U.S, when we look at other countries, their equality issues are exceedingly worse.

    In countries like Saudi Arabia and China, women are looked at as potential wives rather than women who can support themselves in life. In 2016, Global Gender Gap Report ranked Saudi Arabia 141 out of 144 countries for gender disparity. Women there are not expected to work, and men must give them permission to obtain basic entitlements such as marriage, divorce, travel, or get a job. And only recently have women been given permission by the government to drive. Because they couldn’t drive until about a month ago they only made up 13% of the country’s native workforce as of 2015. 2015 was also year women were allowed to vote in the first election for their country; women have been allowed to vote since 1920 in the U.S. Although the country continues to progress little by little, many men and even women in the country think their ‘ideal and pure Islamic nation’ is under threat from ‘imported western values’ and refuse to progress in the equality of women.

    In China equality for women is more progressed, but they are still viewed as less than men. There is a huge pressure for women to get married early on in their lives because that is considered the most important thing in their culture. Women who don’t get married before the age of 27 are called “sheng nu” or leftover women. This is why the pressure is so extreme for these women; they feel they can’t live independently because they fear being labeled as ‘sheng nu.’  An article by the Global Times quoted citizens who suggested that ‘alpha’ men usually choose ‘beta’ women in order to protect their manhood, leaving the ‘alpha’ women as ‘leftovers’. In Chinese culture respecting your parents is the most important quality and by not getting married, many women feel as though they are disrespecting them. All of China’s girls are growing up thinking that the most important thing is to find a man, when really it should be living their lives however they choose to.

    This is just Saudi Arabia and China, Countries all over the world are dealing with issues equal or worse than these. It’s 2017, almost 2018 now, and women should not be viewed as men’s possessions and should have the freedom every human deserves. And although the gap is smaller in the U.S, it’s extremely important we end these issues too or we will never have full equality. No matter the size of the issue, big or small, it’s important to speak up because your gender does not make you any less than anyone else.

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