Why? It's simple to understand. Things like climate change, gun control, health care, and the education system all have a bigger impact on women than men. This is why we need to discuss these issues in the same conversation as women's rights.
Women have always had fewer opportunities than men, are historically the ones held back from education, and we face greater safety risks. Women are the most affected by climate change. We all know we have less political representation.
But when a woman is able to contribute to her family, it has a ripple effect that benefits the whole community. So to fix this inequality we must examine the issues that are holding us back.
A huge issue today is gun control. With the new school year starting, one may think of mass shooting at schools as the primary focus where legislation needs to be written to protect children. Unfortunately there is bigger group in society more likely to succumb to gun violence: women.
Murders by firearms by husbands, boyfriends, and other male partners surpass the number of victims of mass shootings.
The gun control issue is a problem for everyone. While some may assume that gun violence equates to gang violence, it does not. According to the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of gun owners are male and 82 percent of them are white. Nearly all the perpetrators of recent mass shooting first had a history of domestic violence or violent thoughts against women.
We have the data to back this. Now we need the laws to keep us safe. Right now, 35 states have no laws on the books that would remove firearms from those who have been charged with domestic abuse. Crazy, right? Other states have loopholes so abusers can get around toothless rules and still legally own a gun.
The Trace (an independent not partisan non profit newsroom dedicated to gun related news) reports that a women is shot by a former or current partner every 16 hours in the United States. Reuters released a list that ranked the U.S. as the 10th most dangerous country in the world for women after Yemen and Nigeria.
I found some more staggering stats from Everytown Research
The number of states that don’t require those prohibited from purchasing a firearm due to domestic violence charges to relinquish the firearms they already own.
The number of people killed by firearms annually in the U.S. by intimate partners.
80 percent of people killed by firearms annually in the U.S. by intimate partners are women.
The percentage of intimate partner murders that involve a fatal gunshot.
Domestic violence victims are 5 times more likely to be killed if her partner owns a gun.
With wild fires raging, heat waves crossing the globe, and super storms devastating the areas that they hit, we must begin to think of climate change as having a huge impact on the lives of women. 80 percent of the people displaced by climate change around the world are women. Women are more likely than men to experience poverty making recovery from extreme weather events more difficult.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina shows the case in point. It is estimated that two thirds of the jobs lost after the hurricane were lost by women. 83 percent of single mothers were unable to return home for a full two years after the hurricane. As cleanup and restoration projects began, the only jobs available were in construction of which the overwhelming majority of jobs went to men.
There are so many facets of education and they all have such sweeping repercussions for women. From the teachers down to the girls they educate, the entire education process is riddled with injustice for women.
We need to make sure our girls get a good education. Educated women are more likely to have high paying careers, postpone marriage, raise a smaller family, and send her children to school. They also have healthier children and vote at higher rates.
Those teachers who we entrust our children to each day are mostly women. Their low pay and budget cuts go to show that the predominately male legislators do not respect the profession. The teacher strikes that swept the nation during the first half of 2018 where propelled by the conversations women have been having about workplace equality. If the field was male-dominated, would they be forced to work for such low pay, with nearly no funding for their classrooms in schools that are falling apart?
Women are going to college more than men for the first time ever. We outnumber men in enrollment at four year universities. We also hold nearly two thirds of all student debt. Studies show it takes women longer to repay our loans after graduation; another side effect of earning 80 cents (or less depending on your race) to a man's dollar.
Education is clearly a women's issue.
We all have heard the arguments on what defunding Planned Parenthood would do, but there are many other aspects to healthcare that we need to make sure we turn the spotlight on. Healthcare policy changes being made in Washington will have enormous impacts on women’s health. When President Obama created the Affordable Care Act, he made sure that health insurance must include many women-focused care such as maternity care, birth control, cancer screenings, and mammograms. These were called essential health benefits and individual plans had to cover them. Most large employers did as well.
The Republicans have tried and failed so far to reduce benefits. The ones below are all on the chopping block if Trump's party get its way.
- Emergency Services
- Hospitalization (for operations and overnight stays)
- Pregnancy, maternal, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
- Mental Health care and substance abuse treatments
- Birth control coverage
In a nation with the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, you would think we would try and focus on giving women more and better healthcare. But the Republican Party wants to do just the opposite of that. Cuts to Medicaid that have been proposed and voted on just make it worse. More women are covered on Medicaid than men and it also covers half of all births in this country. We need to protect this essential care. It should be seen as a right, not a privilege.
Representation matters now more than ever before. Women have a lot at stake in all elections. We must make sure we are informed and vote to protect us all. Research shows that women in politics raise issues that others overlook, pass bills that others oppose, invest in projects others dismiss, and seek to end abuses that others ignore.
What issues effect you the most? I'd love to hear in the comments below.
What are we doing to help? One of the organizations we donate to with proceeds from your purchases is Emily's List. They are a political action committee dedicated to helping pro choice democratic women candidates get elected to all levels of government. Some of their most well known candidates they've endorsed in the past: Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand.
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Photo Credit: Amber Ibarreche