March was designated in America in 1987 when Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project. Though it centered initially around celebrating women’s contributions to United States history, the month has grown to become an opportunity to highlight women from all over the world who have helped shape history.
However, despite this annual commitment to honoring the accomplishments of great women, sexism and women’s inequality are still globally prevalent. This paper highlights some of the inequalities in how women are treated in the home, workplace, and financial world.
Domestic Violence Against Women
Let me begin by emphasizing that anyone can become a victim of domestic abuse; no one’s reported experience should ever be minimized because of their gender or any other factor. That being said, the says that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. This means men experience these instances of domestic violence at around half the rate that women do.
Moreover, while men and women experience similar rates of physical violence in relationships, 1 in 4 and 1 in 3, respectively, women are significantly more likely to be injured by an intimate partner; 1 in 7 women versus 1 in 25 men. Statistics on domestic abuse of transgender and non-binary individuals are much less prevalent and therefore more challenging to analyze, but cites that 1 in 4 to 1 in 3 LGBQ and 1 in 3 to 1 in 2 trans individuals have experienced intimate partner violence.
Female Sexual Assault Victims
A similar story is told by the statistics surrounding sexual assault for men versus women. The facts are overwhelming; the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network 9 out of every ten rape victims in America are female, with 1 in 6 women becoming a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime versus 1 in 33 for men. Furthermore, females ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
Beyond these disparities surrounding the physical crime of assault or rape, the legal system also mistreats women when they attempt to prosecute their attacker; many women are publicly or privately harassed into dropping cases under the guise that they are making false accusations. To put into perspective how ridiculous this is, data from the suggests that British men are 230 times more likely to be raped than to be falsely accused of rape. The same study shows the total number of sexual assault cases against men that made it to court was less than the total number of adult male rapes perpetrated in the same period.
Gender Wage Gap
Moving along, the wage gap is a well-documented phenomenon and one of the best examples of unnecessary treatment for women. A analysis of full and part-time workers determined that women, on average, earn 82% of what men earned in 2022, nearly unchanged from the 80% they made in 2002 for doing the same job. Despite social pushes for equality during that period, women were still not paid fairly compared to their male counterparts. It doesn’t appear measures are being taken to close the gender wage gap.
Furthermore, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) cites that women of color are more intensely affected by this gap. Hispanic and Latina women earn 58% of what their white male counterparts do, and Black women fare only slightly better at 63%.
Women and Supervisory Roles
from the GAO states that in 2019, around 42% of managers were women, less than the percentage overall of women contributing to the workforce. What’s more, female managers who work full-time earn only 71 cents to the dollar compared to men in the same positions, bringing us back to the gender wage gap issue. Women are also less likely to be awarded opportunities for advancement within an organization.
Additionally, this is one case where younger women of color are advantaged. Though they will still earn less than men working the same jobs, female managers are more likely to be younger, have a higher level of education, and are less likely to be white than male managers. Though women of color are typically the unluckiest group regarding women’s issues, it is mollifying to know that there are still specific opportunities that positively target them.
Women in the Healthcare System
Besides money-related issues, women experience more mistreatment in the medical field than men. A 2018 study for a medical journal determined that doctors are more likely to take reports of chronic pain seriously when interacting with men versus women, viewing men with these symptoms as “brave” and women as “emotional” or “hysterical.” This same study found doctors, regardless of gender, were more likely to attribute a woman’s pain to a mental health issue.
However, women experience far worse than having their symptoms dismissed in hospitals worldwide. Women are disturbingly likely to experience mistreatment during childbirth, according to a World Health Organization study. In fact, they looked at 2,016 women in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar, and Nigeria undergoing labor or childbirth and found 13% had caesarian births conducted without the women’s consent, 75% had episiotomies without permission, and 59% had nonconsensual vaginal exams.
Women and Debt
Building from our previous topic, women are shown to have more medical debt than their male counterparts, with the average outstanding medical bill for women being $4,341 and only $3,231 for men, according to a published study. This pattern extends into other areas outside medicine; for instance, student loan debt is also disproportionate between men and women.
Women are responsible for 58% of all student loan debt in the U.S., as cited by the. Moreover, women spend an average of two years longer to pay off their existing student debt, even though they usually make higher payments despite earning an average of 26% less. Women are also more likely to have outstanding credit card debt than men.
Much of the issues surrounding women and debt can be attributed to the pay gap. Women earning less than their male counterparts end up having to put themselves in debt to pay off bills or support themselves; this leads many women to use credit cards to cover costs, which ultimately only leads to more debt.
Women in Athletics
Finally, the treatment of professional female athletes often differs from their male counterparts; factors like misogyny and projected gender roles affect how people view women’s sports. One of the more famous examples would be the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) lawsuit for unequal pay compared to the men’s team. The case was mainly in response to an occurrence in 2019 when the USWNT received $4 million for winning its second consecutive World Cup championship. The U.S. men’s national soccer team got almost $5.4 million after only reaching round 16 of the tournament five years earlier.
Outside of the monetary differences, female athletes are generally more likely to develop eating disorders and unhealthy body image than males, as cited by a article; 0-19% in male athletes and 6-45% in female athletes. Female sports are also broadcast significantly less; only 4% of women’s sports have media coverage, meaning female athletes earn less recognition than men playing the same sport.
In conclusion, women are constantly working against a system set up to make their lives more complex than the lives of men. There are so many ways that sexism and misogyny are woven into the fabric of our society; there are examples of women being unfairly treated in almost any sphere. Professionals, spouses, entertainers, and all other kinds of women feel the pressure to succeed under complex and often discriminatory expectations.
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