08 March 2013

On International Women’s Day, Reflecting on the Status of Women at Home, by Julie Kay

The Ms. Foundation for Women is celebrating Women’s History Month with a blog carnival featuring the voices and profiles of women across the country. This Month of Action is generously supported by our friends in Seattle.

Julie Kay, Senior Strategist, Advocacy and Policy, Ms. Foundation for Women

In comparison to the adversity faced by women worldwide, women in the U.S. might think, “What do we have to complain about?”

The truth is that, after decades of progress in advancing women’s rights, we still have miles to go in our own country. This International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to reflect on the status of women at home and commit to making the U.S. a leader in advancing all women’s rights.

As the Ms. Foundation for Women’s new report, “More to Do: The Road to Equality for Women in the United States,” concludes, we are at a critical time for women in the U.S. today:
  • Our economy marginalizes women and consistently relegates women of color to the lowest-paying jobs.
  • Quality, flexible and affordable child care is inaccessible to working families, particularly those headed by women.
  • Control over women’s bodies is legislated by people who, as we saw throughout the debate over “Obamacare,” prioritize political posturing over women’s health.
  • Gender-based violence remains a prevalent and complex problem in the U.S., despite important inroads such as the recent renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. 
On International Women’s Day, let’s set high goals for the U.S. and challenge ourselves to make this a place in which a woman may obtain justice and equality regardless of her race, socioeconomic status, age or immigration status. The U.S. should be a beacon of rights, rather than a place that offers privilege to some while turning a blind eye to others’ inequality.

Today is a chance for us all to celebrate our victories on behalf of women in the U.S. but also to commit to deepening these rights and expanding them to all women. We need to repeal barriers to living-wage jobs and enable quality child care, abolish disparities in women’s health care by increasing enrollment and coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and working to end violence against women and sexual abuse of children.

International Women’s Day reminds us of the importance of striving toward a world in which all women are able to obtain their full human rights.

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