What do women get that men don't?

What do women get that men don't?

Back in 1977, the U.S. government was like, "Hey ladies, what's up? What do you want?" So they threw a huge shindig in Houston and invited everyone, from Gloria Steinem to Coretta Scott King, Democrats to Republicans, straight women to lesbians, and even some non-native born peeps, totaling around 20,000 attendees. It was the only federally-funded women's rights conference of its kind in U.S. history, and it was lit.

Maya Angelou was like, "Ladies, we won't settle for anything less than justice for every woman!" and the crowd went wild. She even wrote a poem for the occasion - talk about dedication!

At the National Women's Conference, these badass women demanded the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to finally ban discrimination based on sex. They were also like, "Hey, can we get some affordable childcare up in here? And how about equal pay for equal work? Oh, and we need the feds to fund abortions for those who can't afford it." They also brought up the need for national healthcare, and were like, "Discriminatory rape laws? Nah, we're not about that life." Plus, they made it clear that deporting immigrant mothers of American-born children is NOT okay. These ladies were not messing around!

Flash forward to 2017, and the government was like, "Eh, we're good. We don't need to ask women what they want." But that didn't stop hundreds of thousands of women from marching in D.C. for the Women's March. They flooded the streets with demands for the same stuff women wanted 40 years ago, like the Equal Rights Amendment, affordable childcare, equal pay, and safe and affordable birth control and abortion access. They also emphasized that women have a right to be free from violence against their bodies, and that families should stay together - you know, basic human stuff.

But the vibe was different this time around. Everyone was a bit nervous after the election of President Trump, whose attitude towards women had some people scratching their heads. Some Republicans even denounced him, but in the end, enough people either didn't believe the sexual assault allegations against him or just didn't give a hoot.

According to Kimberlé Crenshaw, feminist legal scholar and all-around smart cookie, men still have way too much say in how the world runs. It's like they're playing The Sims and we're all just virtual characters they can manipulate as they please. Sure, women have made some strides in the boardroom, the courtroom, and even on the basketball court, but let's not kid ourselves - there are still huge disparities, especially in poor or rural areas and in communities of color. It's like we're living in the 21st century, but parts of society are stuck in the 1800s.

Even though feminism is everywhere these days - I mean, even Ivanka Trump is calling herself a feminist, which is like Darth Vader saying he's a pacifist - women's rights are still constantly in flux, depending on who's calling the shots. Some states are making strides, like New York with its paid family leave, while others are going backwards faster than a toddler on a scooter. Ohio just banned abortions after 20 weeks, even in cases of rape or incest, which is about as backwards as wearing a hoop skirt to a rave. As Vicki Shabo of the National Partnership for Women & Families says, we've still got a long way to go before our culture and policies actually line up and start making progress for women.

Let's take a comedic gander at the state of women's issues as Women's History Month begins:

Health: From "woohoo" to "let's wait and see"
The 1977 women's conference recognized women's vital roles as caregivers and named national healthcare as a top federal priority. Fast forward to 2010 when Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, which covered millions of women, banned gender-based coverage discrimination, and ensured access to contraception, maternal care, and breastfeeding supplies. The National Partnership for Women & Families called the ACA "the best thing since sliced bread" for women's health. But hold on to your hats, ladies, because Trump and Republican lawmakers have pledged to repeal and replace it. So...yay?

Well, it seems like men just can't resist putting their hands where they don't belong. Despite increased awareness and education about sexual and domestic violence, some guys just can't seem to keep their hands to themselves. It's like they missed the memo that says "keep your paws off." With statistics like one in three women experiencing physical violence from an intimate partner, it's almost like some men think violence is just another way to say "I love you." And don't even get me started on attempted or completed rape. It's like some guys can't take no for an answer. Maybe they should try listening to Taylor Swift's "No Means No" playlist.

As for the current administration's approach to women's safety, it's a bit like trying to figure out a Rubik's Cube blindfolded while riding a unicycle. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos seems to have the evasive skills of a ninja when it comes to answering questions about Title IX, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems about as interested in protecting women as a cat is in protecting a bowl of water. It's enough to make you want to walk down the street with a suit of armor on.

The United States is so far behind on paid family leave, it's like they're stuck in a time warp where it's still the 1950s and everyone's smoking cigarettes in the office. While other countries are offering months of paid leave to care for a newborn, the US is like "Hey, congrats on the baby, now get back to work!" And forget about affordable childcare, it's like trying to find a unicorn riding a rainbow. Unless you're a millionaire, good luck finding quality care that won't bankrupt you.

Ah, politics and parenting, a match made in heaven. Trump promises to make childcare affordable and accessible, which is great news for parents who want to avoid breaking the bank. And don't worry, new moms, you might get some paid family leave! But, dads, don't get too excited, raising kids is still primarily women's work. And Republicans, please calm down, we all know the real burden is on businesses. Who needs a family-friendly workplace anyway?

It's a shame that the government doesn't seem to understand the benefits of paid family leave and early childhood development. Maybe they need a reminder that investing in these things is like investing in a good stock - you'll get a return on your investment. Except instead of a dividend, you get happy employees, healthier children, and fewer societal problems. Plus, you can't just call up your stockbroker and say, "Can you change my kid's diaper?"

The only thing harder than getting an abortion in some states is getting a straight answer from a politician about their stance on the issue. It's like they're trying to be a "pro-life" magician and pull their opinion out of a hat at the last second. And don't even get me started on the waiting periods - do they think women are indecisive or just like to take scenic detours on the way to the clinic? I mean, it's not like they're going to Disneyland. Oh wait, that's right, they're going to a place that's actually supposed to be the happiest place on earth - a woman's body.

Well, it seems like the White House is really divided on this issue. On one hand, you have the president and vice president who are against abortion, and on the other hand, you have women's rights advocates who are worried about the new Supreme Court nominee. I don't know about you, but I'm getting some serious political whiplash here!

Sure, here's a revised version:

'Equal pay for equal work'
The wage gap is narrowing, but has barely budged in the last decade, according to the non-profit Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Overall, women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. However, the wage gap is even wider for women of color, with Black women earning only 63 cents and Latinas earning only 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Critics argue that these figures do not reflect factors such as occupation or experience. One can't, they say, compare the salary of a female teacher to that of a male lawyer. But economists say even when those controls are present, a wage gap persists. Female doctors, for example, are paid about $20,000 less a year than male doctors.

Hmm, this is a tough one to add humor to, but I'll give it a try!

Why did the woman cross the wage gap? To get to the other 20 cents!

But in all seriousness, it's time to close the wage gap. It's not just about fairness, it's about common sense. Paying women equally for equal work would boost the economy and benefit everyone. So let's get to work and make sure women get their fair share!

Well, it's not like we need laws to ensure that women are paid fairly for their work, right? I mean, women should just be grateful they get paid at all! It's not like they have bills to pay or anything. Oh wait, they do? Well, I guess it's time for us to start enforcing those laws and ensuring that women are paid what they deserve. It's not rocket science, people.

Women with children face a significant "mommy tax," resulting in a wider wage gap. For every child, motherhood is associated with a 4% decrease in earnings, while fatherhood is linked to a 6% increase, as per a 2014 study by UMass Amherst sociology professor Michelle Budig. Unfortunately, low-income women are the most affected by this penalty, making it even more difficult for them to make ends meet.

Studies have shown that women are less likely to ask for higher compensation and are penalized more than men for negotiating. It's almost like the system is designed to keep us down. At a recent conservative conference, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway shared her struggle to define her worth in the workplace. She recalled a time when she was asked her speaking fee for an event that would feature herself and a male speaker. "I froze," she said. "I knew that no matter what I said, I was going to undercut myself. I was going to be that self-denying girl who grew up in a house of all women, a giver, not a taker. It's not his fault if I undercut my value." In the end, Conway decided to go with a simple solution and said, "I'll have what he's having," requesting the same rate as the male speaker. Well, at least she didn't ask for a discount!

It's like the work structure is a badly written soap opera - full of unrealistic expectations and drama that nobody signed up for. Women are expected to play the role of the selfless caregiver while juggling a career, but when the storyline doesn't go according to plan, they get written off as "uncommitted" or "unreliable." Meanwhile, men are the male leads who get to focus on their careers while the women around them do all the emotional labor. It's time to rewrite this tired script and give women the respect and support they deserve.

According to legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, blaming gender inequality solely on women's choices ignores the power dynamics at play. "It's not just about differences, it's about who holds the power to define what work is and what responsibilities come with it," she explains.

Moving on to politics, women are making progress in the slowest way possible. Despite being over half of the population, women only hold 19% of congressional seats and a mere quarter of state legislature positions. At this rate, women won't reach parity with men until the year 2117. But research shows that when women do run for office, they're just as likely to win as men. The real issue is that many women don't even consider running due to the perception of bias. So if we want more women in politics, we need to start addressing the systemic biases that discourage them from running in the first place or women should not allow the bias to cause fear and do what they claim to like. Women aren't men, but they do have the same rights and even more.

Women are not a monolith - they have diverse perspectives, beliefs, and priorities. Even among conservative women, there are differing views on feminism and gender equality. For instance, Phyllis Schlafly led a conservative movement against the Equal Rights Amendment back in the '70s, while today's conservative Independent Women's Forum acknowledges gender inequality but questions the need for top-down mandates. Kellyanne Conway even has a seat on their board - perhaps to keep an eye on alternative facts? Sabrina Schaeffer, the executive director of the forum, argues that the Republican party needs to adapt to attract women voters, but rejects the idea that women are all victims and that disparities are solely caused by gender discrimination. She must have missed the memo on the gender pay gap and the lack of affordable childcare options. Or society turning women into victims and ignoring that some disparities are caused by the choices individual men and women make.

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