Column: With the celebration of 99 years since the 19th amendment come questions about whether equality has been achieved

The 99th anniversary of the 19th amendment challenges women to recognize the lack of equality almost a century later, despite celebrating a major milestone in women’s rights.
"Celebrate what we have achieved and fight for what we still need to achieve"

Maggie Doheny is a sophomore journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about women’s rights.

2019 marked the 99th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. This amendment granted all genders the right to vote in elections, finally allowing women the opportunity to have an opinion in politics legally. Almost one century later, voting for women has become a normalcy.

However, we never forget the activists in women’s suffrage like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony who worked hard to ensure equal voting rights for women and men. Despite this recent accomplishment for women’s rights, many women took to social media to express that it has almost been 100 years and there are still prominent disadvantages for women in today’s world. Another century should not pass before we are all given the same rights in the workplace, politically and socially.

Unfortunately, there is still a significant difference in salaries between women and men in their careers. In some cases, women are paid around 25% less than men despite having the same job. In many cases, the simple words “male” or “female” on an application can determine which person will get the job. Not only is there a complete lack of equality in most workplaces, but another key workplace is the home.

Many women work during the day and do not stop when they come home to their children and significant other. Being a caretaker is a difficult task in and of itself, let alone after working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a place where you are not receiving the same salary as a male coworker for the same job.

Politically, women still have yet to be taken seriously. Although Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential election, there has not been a female president in U.S. history. In fact, the current president seems to have a blatant disregard for treating women and men equally in both his words and actions. Not to mention, the makeup of Congress in regards to gender does not represent the population overall.

Half of the population are females and only a small portion of the Congress are women. Men have this power over women politically that conflicts with simple daily tasks because of a lack of representation in the government. One example is through the government’s control over women’s basic healthcare like birth control and abortions. There is no reason for women not to have control over their own bodies while men are able to have full control over their bodies. The government’s actions towards women highlights the patriarchy in its truest form, and is absolutely unacceptable in 2019.

Socially, women have been and are continuously sexualized, whether it is in class, on social media, or on a stage. Schools have dress codes where womens’ skirts cannot be too short and showing shoulders is forbidden. Why? We would not want to distract anyone in class. This thought process sends a terrible message to these young women, yet it does not stop at school. On social media, if a girl posts a picture showing too much skin, that girl could end up with an array of disgusted or over-sexualized comments.

If only this problem stopped here. However, it reaches some of the most famous women today. Even someone as acclaimed as Billie Eilish is known for wearing baggy clothes because she is fearful of becoming over-sexualized at the age of 17. In fact, a single picture of Eilish wearing a tank top surfaced recently with many people doing exactly as she feared. This cycle of sexualizing women needs to stop. Just like men, women should wear what makes themselves confident, whether completely covered head to toe in clothing or not. It is unacceptable to send this message to females that they need to accommodate others and not prioritize themselves.

This battle for gender equality has continued for almost a century and has yet to come full circle. It is our responsibility to make change and fight to give equal opportunities to all people regardless of our differences. This comes from an understanding of one another and a determination to change what needs to be changed. As humans, we deserve to be completely ourselves and have the same rights as any other human in the workplace, politically and socially. Celebrate what we have achieved and fight for what we still need to achieve.

Edited by Roshae Hemmings | rhemmings@themaneater.com

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