Progress and Change in the Fight for Gender Equality in US
Gender equality has always been a big focal point in today’s politics due to recent political movements like “Times Up” and #MeToo. When examining gender equality in America, one can see that in historical documents like the Constitution only give rights to adult males and denied women the basic rights that they wanted. However, as people began to change with the times, Congress made several changes in the law to help America reach equality. Impactful laws such as the 19th amendment and the Equality Act made huge strides towards gender equality and granted women rights they previously were denied. America is succeeding with gender equality because the Equality Act and the 19th amendment protects people from being discriminated against based on their gender.
The 19th Amendment was a result of the women’s rights movement started by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. From the beginning of America’s history, women were denied many of the basic rights that were granted to the male citizens. In 1848, a group of strong-willed women organized the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls. Most of those who attend believed that women needed better opportunities for employment and education, but also that women merited their own political identities. After numerous protests, the 19th amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920, and it “granted voting rights to women”. This was a big step towards gender equality because it allowed women to participate in government and gave them a way to represent themselves. This amendment gave women opportunities to also pursue positions in government. After the 19th amendment was passed, two years later in 1922, Rebecca Felton of Georgia became the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. This amendment became the first of many to start changing the gender equality in the United States for the better. In the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress prohibited discrimination based on sex.
With the recent changes to the fluidity of gender, laws must change and adapt to reflect society. An amendment to the Civil Rights Act was proposed in late 2018 that would update the Civil Rights Act to also protect people not only from being discriminated based on sex but also on gender identity. This created massive waves through the United States because now people who are LGBTQ can be protected from being denied jobs or basic services because of their gender identity. The passing of this law also shows that America as a nation has become more and more open to the idea of everyone being equal regardless of their gender.
Despite these laws making huge strides towards gender equality, many people still argue that America is failing at gender equality because of the wage gap. People point to the fact that women make 80.7% of a man’s wage. Though this is true, women’s wages have been increasing over the years. In 1980, women earned 64 cents to a man’s dollar and in 2016, that increased to 83 cents for every man’s dollar. Also, new statistics show that graduation rates for women for colleges are 63% which is 6% higher than the graduation rate for men. Women are getting more and more opportunities to achieve greater things and earn more money. Also, more women are being elected into leadership positions like the speaker of the house and are able to have a chance at making new laws to help achieve equality.
Realistically, true gender equality might never be achievable, however, due to several impactful laws, America is becoming more and more equal. With the Equality Act protecting people from being discriminated against based on their gender identity and the 19th amendment granting women their basic right to vote, America will continue to change and work towards equality by allowing people who truly want to make changes to become leaders and lawmakers. Despite the fact that there is a disparity between gender wages, America is succeeding with gender equality because the Equality Act and 19th amendment protects citizens from being discriminated against and allows for all people’s voices to be represented.
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