Most Americans don’t realize that women are treated better in some other countries in the world, places where there’s equal pay and reproductive rights are respected. We as Americans have a long way to go. I hope I’m wrong, but if we ever do reach equality, it may be a couple of generations away.
My time in Denmark as an exchange student was eye opening. I was an impressionable 16-year-old American girl, and I met Danish women who were truly free to make their own decisions. They honestly didn’t understand the abortion debate in the US. They believe you can’t tell a woman what she can do with her own body.
American women will never truly be free until they have complete control of their bodies. The obvious difference between men and women is the ability to bear children, and unfortunately, this holds women back – especially when trapped in an unwanted pregnancy. Men will never experience that, and women can’t escape it. This is especially true if a woman is raped. No one deserves complete control of their body more than sexual assault victims.
Old white men in Washington control our bodies, but that power needs to be given to the individual woman to make her own personal decisions. This is a power American women have never felt. Being able to plan her own family is absolutely crucial for a woman to be in control of her life and future.
It’s not fair to women who decide to go through with a pregnancy either. We are one of two remaining countries that still don’t offer any kind of maternity leave, which leaves many women and families struggling financially. Many mothers return to work too soon, without proper time to heal or bond with their newborn.
Gender roles are still pretty well defined in our society as well, especially for mothers. Many Americans have that “Super Mom” image in their head. She’s in charge of caring for the home and children, and also expected to work a full-time job. She does it all but could snap at any moment. I don’t want to live like that.
It’s 2018, and we still don’t have equal pay. Some other countries have had it for decades. It’s discouraging to know your gender is a factor in determining your worth.
American women are also held to unrealistic expectations in appearance, and many will do anything they can to try to reach this unattainable image. I was one of them. My eating disorder had many personal causes, but society’s expectations certainly didn’t help.
Some of my ancestors were strong, independent women that were advocates for women’s rights during their time. I love hearing their stories, and I wonder what their vision of the future was. Have we come as far as they hoped? In a way, I feel connected to them, because they were probably just like me – just hoping for a better world for their daughters. I became a mother for the first time two years ago, and I hope my daughter one day will experience true independence and opportunity.
photo credit: Greyframe Where did you go? via photopin (license)