The Fight Continues


            In a time of needed social stability and conformity in all aspects due to war and political turmoil, women were one of the most targeted groups that needed to be contained. The countries commitment to social and cultural norms called for women to remain domestic in nature, not to pursue educational or career-oriented goals, and remain subordinate to men (Baxandall 707). Even if women were as well educated, informed, opinionated and charming with their words as their male counterparts, they still were expected to be subordinate to them in all aspects of life. This level of constriction, along with a lack of rights, respect, and opportunities was a major driving force for the liberation of women and a wave of feminism (Baxandall 706).

            Though the women’s liberation movement changed everything from everyday life to politics to familial life and cultural norms, a lot of the accomplishments made by this movement weren’t present until decades later when stigmas against women and government laws had been changed and took effect. But the larger than life changes made by these women (and men) were innumerable. In Baxandall and Gordon’s “The Women’s Liberation Movement,” they stated changes such as “the legalization of abortions, rape shield laws, affirmative action programs that aim to correct past discrimination,” (Baxandall 717). But also “changes in the way people live, dress, dream of their future, and make a living,” (Baxandall 717). “Women successfully fought their exclusion from medical research; diseases affecting women, such as breast and ovarian cancer,” (Baxandall 717). They made “violence against women…become a public political issue; made rape, incest, battering, and sexual harassment understood as crimes,” (Baxandall 717). All these things that are present and logical in our lives today were fought for and won by these women 40 and 50 years ago when they weren’t common sense to our society.

            Where most backlash for these massive social changes was seen was by the conservative side of our culture – our republicans in office, our traditional religious groups, our right-wing companies and lobbyists, and our misogynists. They pulled together to fight back against the liberation of women and changes in the communities. The best ways they could do this was by using their money and influence and spreading misinformation about the movement to try and counteract how popular and supported feminism was and is (Baxandall 718). But what was obvious then, and still is now, is that equality IS popular, and people WILL support things that make sense like basic human rights, respect, and equal opportunities for all people, not just women (Baxandall 718).

            Even though these incredible battles were fought and won with our grandmothers, the need for social change and cultural evolution never dies. Baxandall and Gordon go on to say, “Feminist groups continue to work on specific issues such as reproductive rights, rape, violence against women, sweatshops, sexism in the media, union organizing, and welfare rights,” (Baxandall 718). If it is not already clear in our everyday lives that women are still not socially equal to men, women only hold 17% of Congressional seats, 3% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, women make 77% of what men earn and mothers make even less than that, and the statistics continue (Jank 28-31). Even though the social changes forged decades ago were thought to be “radical,” they need to continue to be for us to become equal in all ways to our male counterparts.

 Baxandall, Rosalyn, and Gordon, Linda. “The Women’s Liberation Movement.” Women’s America: Refocusing the Past, pp. 706, 707, 717, 718., Oxford University Press, 2016.

Jank, Sharon, and Lindsay Owens. “Inequality in the United States.” Gender, pp. 28–31., web.stanford.edu/group/scspi/slides/Inequality_SlideDeck.pdf

 

10 thoughts on “The Fight Continues

  1. It is amazing o see the growth over the years. Women were able to take control over their minds and bodies and did not have to be subjected to being led by a man. Even today though, we still women having to defend the way that dress and how they may carry their selves. some women are even still fighting for equal pay. Good post!

    1. I agree with everything you say expect the equal pay part of it. I feel that women have made huge strides in order to be paid like men and that some women out there make more money than men. About 20-40 years ago I would say that point would be valid but not anymore. Overall very good post!!

      1. Women are still underpaid compared to men, there is no denying. This pay gap even occurs at Delta College. Here’s a graph that calculates the salaries of male and female professors (ranging from full-time to assistant), which clearly shows that men are paid more, even if by a little bit, than women: https://data.chronicle.com/169521/Delta-College/faculty-salaries/
        It’s a fight that was fought several decades ago that is unfortunately still being fought, even in countries such as ours. There’s only one country in this world that guarantees equal pay for workers in its legislation, and that is Iceland: http://time.com/money/4696591/equal-pay-gender-gap-iceland-women/

        1. I’m glad you included those points Kellen, I absolutely agree the gender wage gap still exists today. In fact, I recently found an article that I’d like to share as well in case anyone would like to read it, https://www.google.com/amp/www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/09/gender-pay-gap-facts/%3famp=1. Women are still paid less than men, and women of color are typically paid less than white women who are already being paid only 82% (give or take) of what men are paid. There is no doubt that women’s conditions in the workplace are slowly improvising, such as the increase of women in more management positions, but many women continue to be over represented in lower paying occupations.

        2. I actually got into an argument with a student the other day because they were convinced that the wage gap was a hoax. They refused to listen to me when I provided evidence of it existing, so I really appreciate the further evidence you have provided here. Iceland appears to be on the right track in terms of equal pay for all genders. I hope that our own country can start following in those footsteps someday.

    2. I agree with your point on how women still have to defend the way that they dress. It’s hard for a woman to express herself without society creating a label, and making headlines about some t-shirt that she decided to throw on. Men hardly get trashed on for what they wear. It is easy to call a woman a mean name for what she decides to wear, and it is discriminating.

  2. There is a clear wage gap between men and women, but how upset can you really let this get you? Women have come so far today to get where they are today. I know we should be striving to get exactly the same things men are getting, but we started from the bottom unlike men. We have continued to push ourselves and achieve things that people never thought possible. Women will continue to do this through there natural drive and hopefully some day be equal, but even what they’ve done today is truly amazing.

  3. Great post Allison! What’s gets to me is that women still have to prove to society that they are worthy. And by that I mean… worthy of workforce positions, promotions, competitive pays and so much more. I think that men are so self conscious and intimidated by women being in charge. So by keeping women in set brackets, this almost prevents women from holding the most successful positions in this world.

  4. I think your post was incredibly insightful and informative. I like that you touched on the wage gap and provided some statistics relating to the topic as well. It’s really frustrating that we still have to have conversations about the wage gap, knowing it still exists and isn’t something that has been eradicated quite yet. I suppose modern feminism still has a long way to go.

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