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Brent Babb Professor Justin Cary English 1102 29 April 2014

Womens Rights Across the US and the World As a US citizen we expect the best rights and privileges. This country was established on the ideas of equality and freedom for all, no matter what race, gender, or religion. Most Americans will agree that life here has been fair and equal. But our history books contain two prime examples of how this country has changed over the years and how human equality has evolved. Those two examples are slavery and the womens rights movement. This essay will be about the womens equality movement across the US and their status in other countries. Our story begins in the 19th Century. Only those who own land and are white can vote; non-whites wont get the right to vote until the 15th Amendment in 1870. One year before in 1869, Susan B. Anthony established the National Womens Suffrage Movement. This group set out to show how women were treated in the eyes of the law and needed a voice in society. By 1920, almost 50 years after non-whites were given the right to vote, every US state had granted women the right to vote and had been ratified into the Constitution. Over the years womens rights activists began to fight against society on numerous topics including abortion, birth control, and job opportunities. Women in the 1950s, focused on the movement of women out of the house and into full time jobs. Birth Control laws and regulation continued to be a hot topic as the 1970s

began. It seems that in almost every time period since the foundation of this country someone has been fighting for his or her equality. Sometimes they get what they want after many years of showing the public how different they are treated, some are still fighting and may never get the equality they deserve. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Law prohibiting companies from purposely paying women less money than their male counterparts. To any normal person who doesnt have an extensive knowledge on womens equality, it would see as if all is well and women are now making the same as men. No! Women today make 77 cents per 1 dollar by men. That means in a $50,000 job women make $38,500. That is barely enough money to support yourself let only if you have a family. After graduating college, where you will not be making that much money anyway, females still make $8000 less than male graduates (Ellis). Traditional roles that women have played in the history of the world have led to this shortcoming. When the only jobs available were ones that required manual labor and other arduous tasks, men filled these roles and women continued to live at home (Dewey). As the 20th Century came about women began to leave the homes and search for jobs. So use to be being at home, women began to take simple desk jobs while men continued to fill harder jobs. This may have led to the low percentage of pay compared to men. Employers are used to paying less for simple jobs and have not adjusted the pay grade with the increase of women in the work force. There are exceptions to this, like Brazil where female college graduates make 5% more than males (Ellis). This country was founded by those seeking freedom and equality, why are women still in a position lesser than men? We havent had a female president or vice president.

Although it sounds like things are bad for women in the US, some countries around the world have even worse situation. Afghanistan, for instance, is one particular country that has a history of treating women unfairly. Ranking 147 out of 148 by the Global Gender Inequality Index, Afghanistan is the lowest of all time in its history (Schwab). Only 5% of women have an education. 9 out of 10 are illiterate (Life As An Afghan Woman). Women are constantly killed in public squares in front of thousands of people. 44% die in childbirth. In an area plagued by armed conflict, men are constantly dying and Afghan women are not allowed to remarry (Life As An Afghan Woman). Women are forced to wear a Burqa to cover their face. Although it is said to be apart of their religion the Burqa stands for the constant struggle to be treated fairly in Muslim culture (Shah). Rape against women in Afghanistan, and other countries in Africa, is also an area of concern. If a woman is married and reports a rape, she is held at fault for adultery and is most likely going to be killed. My Forbidden Face by Latifa is a great book that chronicles the struggle of women in Afghanistan and how bad their situation is. It is probably one of the most powerful and though provoking books that I have ever read. Across the world women are treated as property and not humans. In countries like Saudi Arabia, women cannot vote and cannot even drive a car. If they leave their home, they must be accompanied by a male family member and must be within 3 feet at all times (Dewey). Yemen only considers women half a witness in crime situations (Dewey). China wont let family members keep female born babies and as we all know get rid of them in many horrific ways. In many of these countries, especially in Africa, women do nearly all of the work to maintain the village they live in. Women must take care of the children, clean, harvest

and collect crops, cook, and many other tasks that are very time consuming (Shah). Men are most of the time at home or away from the village. In some of these societies, the men are off in battle. In the US and around the world, women are the ones who are the most living in poverty (Ellis). Women have been in a battle with society to achieve equality. In some places equality is seen as present but underneath the shadows of big business it is truly unfair. Some women are just starting their fight for equality and have a long road ahead.

Works Cited Dewey, Caitlin. "7 ridiculous restrictions on womens rights around the world." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. Ellis, Blake . "Women Earn $8000 Less than Men." CNN Money. CNN, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. "Life As An Afghan Woman." Trust In Education. Trust In Education. Web. 17 Mar 2014. Schwab, Klaus. Harvard University. World Economic Forum. Global Gender Gap Report. Boston: , 2013. Web. Shah, Anup. Womens Rights. Global Issues. 14 Mar. 2010. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.