🗽Sunday Spotlight: Trans Women Making History

This week we’re discussing transgender rights and the importance of intersectional feminist. Here are a few transgender women who have made an impact on the transgender community. The activist efforts of these women have empowered fellow transgenders and have redefined what it means to be a woman and the various experiences of womanhood.

Sarah Mcbride

Sarah Mcbride is the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign and the first transgender person to speak at a national convention and work in the White House. Her voice and presence at the White House have been extremely influential to policies on LGBT rights under the Obama administration. By publicly sharing her story she has brought awareness to transgender people and provided a voice for them in politics.

Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings in a transgender Youtube personality who uses her online presence to advocate for LGBT rights. She has become one of the first open teen transgender figures who brings support to other trans youth and has publicly shared her story in various interviews. Jazz and her parents created the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation that provides supports to trans children by educating, providing financial aid to research, and transforming the negative stigma society has towards transgenders.

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox is a transgender actress, TV star, and LGBT advocate who uses her status in Hollywood to fight for transgender rights. In addition to being a successful advocate, she is also the first transgender women to be nominated for an Emmy Award. Her position has been an effective platform that has really brought a lot of awareness of transgender rights, discrimination, and violence. She emphasizes intersectionality in her grassroots efforts because transgender women of color face are targets of violence.

March is Women’s History Month and these are just a few of the powerful women making history for our generation. Unite for the Uterus strongly stands by these amazing women that have made strides to fight for trans rights, women’s rights, and gender equality. We unite for all women who fight for our rights and promote feminist ideals that apply to all women regardless of race and identity. No uterus is required to support us and our fellow women!!

Who are you, LBGTQ+?

As time goes by, our communities continue to get more and more diverse. It is such an empowering and beautiful thing. The way that people interact and respond to those differences is a great way to understand someones character. However, sometimes people don’t respond to difference in a positive way, and that is what this post is all about. We want to empower people to accept everyone as they are, regardless of their differences and to help foster that type of future.  We want to talk about who the LGBTQ+ community is and how a more inclusive community could help shape a better world.

LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer and/or questioning individuals/identities. In the 1990’s the abbreviation replaced the concept “the gay community” in order to be more inclusive of all identities. For decades the LGBTQ+ community has struggled to fight for individual rights and freedoms.  Most people in this day and age are pretty familiar with what it means to be gay, lesbian or bisexual. There is less education surrounding the transgender and queer community. A transgender person is an individual whose sense or personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

While LGBTQ individuals have fought for rights for decades, fighting against discrimination America finally took a step in the right direction in 2015. President Barack Obama legalized gay marriage on June 26th, 2015. Although the passing of the law created a large backlash of hate and discrimination throughout the country, it is now a nationwide law. The courts ruled that states cannot ban same sex marriage, it was the biggest victory for the LGBTQ community to date!

🎀 Sunday Spotlight: The Susan G. Komen Organization

The Susan G. Komen foundation, also known as simply “Komen”  is the most widely known Breast Cancer research organization worldwide. After it’s beginning in 1982, it has spent 1.5 billion on breast cancer research, educational programming, advocacy and health support services. The foundation is named after Susan Goodman, who later became Susan Goodman Komen, who passed away in 1980 from breast cancer. Her sister believed she could have survived if doctors had known more about the disease, thus putting in gear the making of an organization who is dedicated to ending breast cancer.

Throughout the years of advocacy and support for the breast cancer community, the Komen foundation has made a lasting impact in several ways.  One of the impressions they have left on the world is the iconic pink ribbon, as well as the color pink itself. The pink ribbon is the symbol of breast cancer awareness and was made known by the Susan G. Komen foundation. The color is strategically chosen to be pink and represent femininity. The hope behind this representation was to also represent traditional feminine characteristics such as caring for and love for one another.  Every October is recognized as national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The color pink is incorporated into uniforms and worn proudly by several sports teams during games. In many stadiums, a pink ribbon has been painted onto the playing field, for even more representation and awareness for Breast Cancer. Through the pink ribbon, the Susan G. Komen foundation has created a iconic symbol that allows for others to recognize and be aware of breast cancer and it’s affects on women and a small percentage of men across the globe. 

The second impact the Susan G. Komen foundation has made is the 3 Day, race for the cure. The 3 Day is a 60 mile walk over the course of 3 days. Each day participants walk 20 miles as they are cheered on by supporters on the path. The 3 Day occurs yearly sometime between August and November. The cities that have hosted the 3 Day include: Dallas/ Fort. Worth, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and the Twin Cities. In order to participate a walker must raise $2,300. Many participants reach out to family members/ friends/ coworkers, etc. in order to reach the goal. Because of this several others are able to be involved in the 3 Day, even if they are not walking. Many of the walkers in the past have walked for their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, friends or other relatives who were affected by breast cancer. 75% of the proceeds from the 3 Day go to Komen’s national priorities which include: research, community health and advocacy and global partnerships. The other 25 % of the profits stay within the local community to fund screenings, diagnosis programs and education.  In order to find more information about the Komen 3 Day and register for the race, you can visit their website.  The fight to end breast cancer isn’t over, but dedicated people and organizations like the Susan G. Komen foundation are making big steps toward finding the cure.

 

Breast Exam of the Month

It’s that time of the month again ladies, the monthly breast exam has called your name. According to John Hopkins Medical center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” Most women who perform these monthly breast exams a become familiar with their breasts, and b, are so familiar that when and if they feel a lump they can contact their healthcare professional right away. If you are wondering, how in the hell do I give myself a breast exam, have no fear we’ve got you covered.   There are three recommended ways.

 

1.) In the Shower

Take the pads of your fingertips and move them around your entire boob in the motion of a circle from the outside to the center. Don’t forget about your armpit area! Check each month for any lumps, thickening or hardened knots.

2.) In Front of a Mirror

 

Look at your boobs with your arms down at your side. Then raise your arms high above your head. Look to see for a changing in the contour, if there is any swelling, dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Lastly, rest your palms on our hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Each boob will not look exactly the same so again look for any dimpling, puckering or changes to either side.

3.) Lying Down

 

When you lay down your breast tissue spreads evenly out along your chest. Put a pillow under your left shoulder and your left arm behind your head. Use your right hand to move the pads of your fingertips around your left boob in those small circular motions again covering the entire boob area and armpit. Repeat this step on right side. Lastly, squeeze your nipple to check for discharge and lumps.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer can vary from person to person. As a disclaimer, these signs and symptoms I am about to share with you do not automatically mean you have breast cancer!  If you notice a change in how your breast or nipple feels. Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm may be a sign. If you notice a change in the skin texture or that the pores on the skin on your boob are larger. Some say it may feel the like an orange peel’s texture. Another sign is a change in the breast or nipple appearance meaning there is an unexplained change in size or shape or a nipple that is inward or inverted. Lastly, any nipple discharge that is clear of blood.

 

Please remember if you discover a lump or any of these signs or symptoms to contact your healthcare provider, but also know it may not be breast cancer. It is better to have a doctor look at it than self-diagnose yourself because it is most often the symptoms are not cancerous. I’ll leave you with this video from BuzzFeedYellow’s Ladylike bit. Watch these four ladies learn everything you need to know about breast exams from Dr. Sherry Ross, MD.

🌿United We Pay

“Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change.” – Beyoncé 

The wage gap is a real thing people. For some reason it seems to continuously get less and less attention because it does seem to be decreasing for white women. Women overall lose out on more than $400,000 over the course of their careers, but most women of color are shorted more than double that. Right now the rate is teetering at about 20%. Which means that for every dollar that a man makes, a woman makes about 80 cents. This is a completely generalized statement that does not consider race, geography or immigration status.  However, it isn’t all completely bad news, femme forward bad asses are paving the way for the gap to slowly disappear and much like women suffrage, LGBTQI rights and the civil rights movement, all good things take time. Here at Unite for the Uterus  we believe in unity. We would like to give a shout out to a few of the women that have helped to make our paychecks a little fatter and our hearts much more full!

Viola Davis explains why equal pay just makes sense.

An advocate for equal pay in Hollywood, Viola Davis is not using the spotlight to merely accept her Emmy’s and move on. Instead, Ms. Davis is advocating for human rights all across the globe, including equal pay. As an actress of color she isn’t even concerned about men and making the same amount as they are yet, she feels like she should be making just as much as white women in her industry.  Davis is a hero in this realm because she does not just use her stardom for stardom’s sake, but instead uses it as a platform to promote ideas such as equal pay for all, health and medication activism for people living poverty, and total equality for people of all races and genders. “I always feel like I’m motivated by the child in me that lived in poverty,” Davis tells a reporter from Mashable. Using the experiences of her youth Davis is a part of the movement to help all people receive equal pay for equal work.

Rosa DeLauro on Kennedy’s equal pay legislation

Rosa DeLauro has fought for issues such as equal pay, paid family leave and affordable child care her entire career. Her dream is to live in a country (and a world) where the monetary value of the women is equal to the value of men.  DeLauro argues that conservatives in government may have their heads buried in the sand, but the gender wage gap is not a myth. Study after study from economists, experts and the Government Accountability Office have demonstrated that women are being paid less than their male colleagues for the same work across age, occupation and education level. The 23-cent gap between men’s and women’s earnings can be only partially explained away by occupational choices; differences in the number of hours that men or women work or other such factors. For example, men out-earned women in 19 of the 20 most common occupations for women, according to a 2012 analysis of occupation and wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as 19 of the 29 most common occupations for men.

Emma Watson on a person’s position not impacting the wage gap.

As rough as it is to come to terms with, in our digital age Hollywood stars seem to get most of the attention. While politics are center stage during election time, Hollywood is never off camera and these stars are constantly setting examples for young women all across the country. A heroine example of activism for women’s rights in that community is Emma Watson. The young actress was disgusted at how women were being portrayed around the world that she had to take a one year sabbatical to broadcast her ideas about feminism and make a real difference. She took this year to go on many shows and do interviews expressing her views about how corrupt the system is and how it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, or what your occupation may be, no one is being paid equally and it needs to change.

Hillary Clinton on equal pay and human rights.

Arguably one of the most influential women in Washington, Hillary Clinton has fought for the rights for women for decades. She has built a career on proving that women can do anything and has served as a role model for young girls around the world. Regardless of her result in the most recent presidential race she presented a concession speech that brought many around the world to tears. Empowering young girls to not look at this as a defeat of their character but to believe that they can accomplish anything they set their mind too. In regards to her thoughts on the wage gap, Clinton has pointed out several parts of the wage gap that mirror the glass ceiling ideology. As men get older promotions increase, as women get older they are left behind. A proud supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act, Clinton believes that workers who discuss their pay can’t be fired or retaliated against for learning about their co-workers’ salaries. Clinton said equal pay was just one part of her larger agenda of economic equality plan for women workers. Her activism throughout her life makes her a hero for little girls and working women everywhere.

Lilly Ledbetter on the wage gaps effects over time

Lilly Ledbetter is THE PIONEER of equal pay for women in the United States. Her bill the Fair Pay Act of 2009, was the first bill signed into law by president Barack Obama (also an intense activist for equal pay for the sexes). Lilly Ledbetter, now 78, worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber for 19 years. By 1997 she was the only woman working as an area manager at a plant in Gadsden, Alabama. She was also, as she was to find out, the lowest-paid. Ledbetter earned $3,727 per month, but her male colleagues were being paid much more for the exact same job—the lowest-paid male area manager made $4,286 a month, and the highest-paid made $5,236. Frustrated and disgusted by this unfair treatment, Ledbetter stood up for herself and spoke out. Her complaint became an employment discrimination suit that was eventually settled by the Supreme Court in 2007. But she didn’t stop there, when Ledbetter received a large settlement for the discrimination she experienced she continued her fight to make sure no other woman would be subject to that discrimination. It is because of Ms. Ledbetter that a law now exists prohibiting sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the queens of our progress.

👛Gender Wage Gap: Doesn’t Make Cents

Equal pay for equal work seems totally reasonable, right? Well, unfortunately, it’s just not that simple a key issue that the women’s movement is undertaking is the gender wage gap. The wage gap is the difference between a man and a woman’s average income salary. When looking into this issue there is one common statistic that is stated which is that women make 79¢ to every dollar a man makes but this fact doesn’t really reveal much about the matter because not every man and women have the same job. This statistic mainly applies to college educated individuals working full-time jobs but pay can vary for many reasons beyond sex like education, race, disability status, age, socioeconomic status, and experience (AAUW).

The 21% difference in pay primarily applies to white woman which are a small portion of all women, therefore neglecting to represent the various experiences of other women in the working field. The difference in pay is far more drastic for women of color with Hispanic and latina women with the lowest pay and biggest difference when compared to the pay of a white male (AAUW). Age is another big contributor to the wage gap even though many workers (male and female) will get an increase in pay as they get older and get more expertise the gap also becomes considerably larger. The disparities in salaries are prevalent in almost every field even the sports sector making women who pay the same sports as men make considerably less and by doing this the industry is encouraging gender inequality and discrimination towards women.

In order to tackle the gender wage gap, these additional findings need to be known more than just the 79¢ statistic for any substantial progress to occur. We need to obtain gender equality that applies to all women but what can we do to pave the way and abolish the wage gap? Here are a few tips that I came up with.

  • Advocate for equal pay and promotions for yourself and your lady friends
  • Talk to your employers about the Equal Pay Act
  • Tell Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act
  • If you are business owner make a commitment to provide equal pay for equal work
  • Educate others to bring awareness to the issue
  • Document any events that may suggest that you are being paid unfairly
  • File a complaint if you have been discriminated against
  • And most importantly is Know Your Worth!

🚺Sunday Spotlight: Margaret Sanger

Born in 1879 in Corning, New York Margaret Sanger came out of the womb headstrong. Technically, literally and figuratively because she would eventually become known as the founder of Planned Parenthood as well as an iconic advocate for women’s reproductive health. Keep in mind that the impact she made happened 100 years ago and women who took a stance and spoke up about anything were considered “stubborn” or “emotional.” Even though Sanger was the start of the movement that is still so important for women today, there are some beliefs and connections she had that Planned Parenthood realizes but denounces today. Every heroes story is a very complex and interesting account with flaws, because even though we look to them as inspirations, all of our heroes are also humans.

A lot of her personal background is what fueled her passion for access to reproductive healthcare for women, especially those in poverty. Growing up she was born into a family who wasn’t able to support the number of kids they had brought into the world. She would go to school and be made fun of by her peers for wearing old clothes. She wanted to stop living a life of poverty, which is one of the inspirations to help others get out from under the poverty line. She eventually went on to private school which was funded through the help of her older sisters and later graduated as a practical nurse from Whites Plains Hospital in 1902. (Planned Parenthood 2) This upbringing and background is recognized as what she drew from to form her passions for the care of those in poverty and women’s reproductive health.

Six years before she was born the United States Congress implemented a law that “made it illegal to to publish and distribute information across state lines about sex, reproduction, or birth control anywhere in the U.S. on the grounds that they were obscene.” (Planned Parenthood 2) After serving women as a nurse for several years, Sanger wanted to find other ways to help women in need. She began publishing a series of articles entitled “What Every Girl Should Know.” Her articles were later censored even though she had went around using language about contraception. Sanger didn’t back down, instead she decided to write her own paper, appropriately titled “The Women Rebel.”  The paper included any and all information about birth control. She was told to stop publishing but kept doing what she did best, defying the wishes of those wanting to censor her mission for women’s reproductive health. She continued publishing and sending out copies through the mail. Even through tireless efforts, Sanger was arrested.

Instead of writing a plea for her defense, she began writing a book all about birth control entitled “Family Limitation.” It sold for 25 cents and women all over were beginning to hear about it. It was translated into 13 languages and over 10 million copies were sold. It essentially was  the “Bible” of the birth control movement. This was just the beginning of Sanger’s impact. She later went on to become the founder of Planned Parenthood and is considered one of the most important Americans in the 20th century. The history of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger’s foundations will be covered more in our next blog entitled: Human Rights are Reproductive Rights.

 

 

💑Human Rights are Reproductive Rights

 

Planned Parenthood celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and is stronger than ever. Throughout history this organization has fought and pushed to grant education, healthcare, medical services,  and promoted research for all people regardless of his or her fertility, of the individual’s income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. Planned Parenthood has granted the human right to reproductive rights for everyone.

 

It all began with three women, Margaret Sanger, Ethel Byrne, and Fania                    Mindell, who opened a clinic to provide birth control information and advice          to women.

After the opening it was shut down just 9 days later by the police and the women were charged with crimes. Margaret Sanger in particular refused to pay the fine and spent 30 days in jail.

After 14 years of advocating, the New York Urban leagues endorsed a new             clinic for black women who were denied access to health and social services.

In 1943 The National Clergyman Advisory Council launched to become the         precursor to the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board. Many religious leaders have played a critical role in advocating for reproductive health.

In 1951, Planned Parenthood granted funds to researchers to develop the             first birth control pill and in 1956 the first human trail took place in Puerto       Rico.

In 1965 contraceptives were legalized for married couples in the Griswold v. Connecticut case. Researchers found that one out of four married women under the age of 45 had utilized the pill.

In 1967, 19 Protestant ministers, and two rabbis created an underground community of about 1,400 clergy members to assist women who were at the time seeking out abortions.

About 11, 000 abortions were performed by this underground group until 1973 when Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion nationwide.

In the case of Eisenstadt v. Baird, the U.S. Supreme Court disbanded the Massachusetts statute, which banned contraceptives from unmarried couples.

 

Following the legalization of contraceptive usage and abortion came the launch of national sex education programs, and a safe place for women to seek help with family planning, referrals or medical services. While there were and are many success of Planned Parenthood that does on deter from the acts of violence that have occurred, and the numerous set backs from government officials. This is and will continue to be an ongoing battle. It is the fundamental right to every person to say what they choose to do with their fertility. We must respect everyone and value their opinion. Planned Parenthood has created and maintained a safe and nonjudgemental ground where all people can seek information in a private and safe space. It is our obligation to fight and advocate for the equality of all humans reproductive rights. We must continue to do so as our President begins to ban funding to those who support abortions.

🌸Menstruation Matters: Period Myths Debunked

It’s a little crazy how little most women know about the female body. From a younger age girls start to hear about how gross their period is and immediately start hiding their armor in their purses to protect themselves from Lady Flow coming to town and destroying their seat cushions and favorite pieces of clothing. However, its extremely important for girls to realize that a woman’s time of the month is a beautiful thing that deserves to be celebrated and not shamed.

Girls generally get their period between the ages of twelve and thirteen. Their Menarche (the first occurrence of menstruation) happens due to the rise and fall of hormones throughout the body. This cycle results in the thickening of uterus linking and the growth of an egg (which is required for pregnancy) nutrients are provided to the embryo through the thick linking of the uterus. If the woman is not pregnant, the lining is released in what is known as menstruation.

As you can see from the information above, menstruation is as normal and natural a process as breathing. It is a signal that the girl has grown to become a woman and that she is fertile and beautiful. However, there are all sorts of stigmas associated with a woman’s period that cause young women to be scared to engage in normal activities or cause discomfort when discussing subjects related to their periods. Today we will talk about a few of those issues  and put some of the myths to rest so we can empower young women to feel beautiful in their bodies no matter what time of the month it is.

5. Sharks Will Attack Women On Their Periods

I blame the movie Jaws for this one. While it is true that sharks can detect a drop of blood from .25 miles away, there is no data to support the belief that menstruating females are at an increased risk for shark attacks. Sharks have extraordinary sensory competencies so it is very likely that they can certainly detect menstrual discharge that naturally occurs when a women is menstruating. However, this detection is similar to the detection of a splash nearby or a loud noise and is not likely to attract sharks to attack. They do not associate the fluid involved in menstruation with feeding opportunities.

So for everyone (guys and girls) out there thinking menstruation attracts sharks, think again before you blame periods before you’re peeing in the ocean. Which nobody does of course because that’s gross…right?

4. You Cannot Get Pregnant During Your Period

This isn’t true, despite what a lot of people believe. Tell your friends. Tell every female you know who’s sexually active or plans to be any time soon. You CAN get pregnant during your period. Once inside you, sperm can live for 3-5 days. Ovulation can occur during, or soon after, the bleeding phase. If you don’t want to get pregnant, either don’t have sex, or use birth control every single time you do.

Some people attempt to use the “rhythm method” to prevent pregnancy.  In other words, they only have sex during the “safe” days of pregnancy, when the woman is least likely to have an egg around.  If you have really regular periods, you keep track of them carefully, and you can estimate the time when you ovulate by changes in the thickness of cervical mucus or body temperature, you might have a slightly better chance to avoid pregnancy for a while. The “rhythm method” teaches us that no time is completely “safe” for avoiding pregnancy.

3.  A Tampon Can Get Lost Inside Your Vagina

Image result for A Tampon Can Get Lost Inside Your Vagina

This is probably the silliest one I think I have ever heard, so ring the alarms and tell the world NOTHING CAN GET LOST INSIDE YOUR VAGINA. Your vagina ends at your cervix and there is no physical way that a tampon can get beyond that. The vagina is only about 3-4 inches long (although it does stretch to accommodate for intercourse or birth of a child), so chances are that if you did insert a tampon you will be able to feel it when its time for removal.

From personal experience when I was a young girl there was a lot of period shaming happening. I remember being told by my mother that tampons were for girls that had already had other things inside them. This made me feel really uncomfortable and dirty for wanting to use tampons and I didn’t for years. However, pads and other options were really uncomfortable for me. They made me feel even more dirty and kind of like I was wearing a diaper. Eventually I just bit the bulliet and started using tampons but the point is that there are striking similarity between the sexism of “slut shaming” and “period shaming“. Girls are made to feel uncomfortable about using products that are completely natural. ITS NOT OKAY, and we are here to put a stop to it.

2. Periods Are Debilitating For Women

Can you imagine a life where you were asked to miss work every single month even if you do not feel sick? This is a reality of women all across the world whose employees enforce a strong policy on women not being allowed to come to work when they are on their period. Its a much bigger deal in some places than in others, however in multiple Eastern countries such as South Korea, China, Japan and Indonesia there are laws that provide women sick leave during menstruation.  The argument continues to be about whether this is a medical necessity or a form of discrimination against women.

Personally, I have experienced extreme pain when on my period. For days at a time I would be crouched in the fetal position wondering if I would ever have the capacity to have a normal week. After doing some research I discovered that I am a part of only a small percentage of women that experience severe symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Apparently, only 20 percent of women report severe pain during their periods. (Thanks Aunt Flow!) There is also data and experience that documents women doing amazing things while menstruating, even such as running a marathon!

1. PMS Is All In Your Head

Those mood swings and cravings you feel just before your period arrives? Totally real and totally normal. Phew! A minimum of 20 percent of women have emotional and physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome five days before their period starts. “Symptoms can range from bloating, fatigue, and changes in your appetite, to anxiety, tension, dizziness, and/or tender breasts,” says Dr. Nucatola. Both exercise and over the counter pain medication have been known to lesson the symptoms, but if they are really bad, see your doctor for alternate options.

Ladies you are all beautiful and you are all wonderful all times of the month. Menstruation is a beautiful process that happens to you throughout the majority of your life. It is a symbol that you are a grown and healthy woman. So the next time you feel uncomfortable or disgruntled by your period just remember that it is a symbol of your womanhood and its a beautiful thing you should feel empowered to embrace!

🗽#TBT Women’s Liberation in American History

 

It’s 2017 and millions of citizens peacefully protested for women’s rights around the world but what exactly lead to this event to occur in this current age where we have advanced in so many ways? After seeing images of elderly women holding protest signs reading “I can’t believe I still have to protest this sh*t” from the marches I really began to wonder what have the women in America faced before me and what does that say about where we are today. In order to understand the current issues that women are facing in America, I think it’s important to understand the history of women’s rights in America and what we can do about the future of women.

Women have faced various issues in American history like restrictions towards voting, employment opportunities, access to education, unfair treatment, unequal pay, reproductive rights, maternity leave, and violence. The shocking thing is that many of these are still very prevalent today some have improved which shows a sign of progression. The women’s rights movement arose out of the frustration towards the unfair treatment around the mid-1800’s with the National Women’s Rights Convention that brought attention to the struggles they faced (Imbornoni). I can’t even imagine how shocking this was for a male dominated society to hear their frustrations but the voice of women needed to be heard.

The women’s suffrage reform movement soon began but weren’t granted the right to vote until the 19th amendment was passed in 1920 over 50 years after the women’s rights movement began. The women’s movement also focused on labor issues because they weren’t given equal employment opportunities and wages due to discrimination and the strong belief in traditional gender roles. Some areas of the U.S. were more forward-looking than others offering new jobs for women but while still setting limitations like in Illinois they weren’t allowed to practice law (Imbornoni).  These new advances were great and all but it mainly applied to white women leaving all women of color behind. Okay, so some progress nonetheless with restrictions on the side but what about women of color?

The National Association of Colored Women was formed in 1896 with the mission of  “raising to the highest plane the home life, moral standards, and civic life of our race” (Imbornoni). This divide between these movements relates to the current issues with white feminism which is so important why our feminism must intersectional if we want to grow as a gender and seek equality. Another big historical event was the creation of Planned Parenthood in 1942 and the invention of birth control soon after that. With these new establishments for reproductive health, there came a lot of backlashes that resulted in restrictions towards access to contraceptives and abortions. So it turns out that our current issues with women’s rights aren’t so new therefore making the statements on those elderly woman’s signs at the protest totally reasonable.

The rights that we have today were only possible after years of our fellow women demanding equality and though we’re not quite there yet we could be heading in the right direction but how many more years will it take? I think that this question is one of the biggest reason that the Women’s March was so powerful because we have come a long way and don’t want to regress especially after the misogynous comments that our President made during his election. Fighting for equal treatment has never been easy and will remain a challenge and this is the time that we need to stand up to the fight and continue not only for ourselves but for all the ladies of the world. The want for basic human rights, justice and liberation is nothing new and we need to bring our strength together to fight for all women, our society, and for future generations like in the past women have for us!
Imbornoni, Ann-Marie. “Women’s Rights Movement in the U.S.” Infoplease. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Feb. 2017.

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