Mothers march on 100th anniversary of International Women's Day in San Francisco
ON 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, WOMEN STILL STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY
This past Wednesday, March 8, 2011, marked the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Originally named “International ‘working’ women’s day,” the tradition began in the early 1900’s as a way to promote equal rights, including suffrage for women. The event has grown into a major day of global celebration of women with the focus of the celebrations varying by region and ranging on issues from general celebration of respect and appreciation towards women; to events celebrating women's economic, political and social achievements as well as rallies and demonstrations aimed at improving the overall condition of women around the world.
WOMEN IN AMERICA REPORT HIGHLIGHTS
- Women have not only caught up with men in college attendance but younger women are now more likely than younger men to have a college or a master’s degree.
- Women are also working more and the number of women and men in the labor force has nearly equalized in recent years. As women’s work has increased, their earnings constitute a growing share of family income. Yet, these gains in education and labor force involvement have not translated into wage and income equity.
- At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009.
- In part because of these lower earnings and in part because unmarried and divorced women are the most likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children, women are more likely to live in poverty than men.
- These economic inequities are even more acute for women of color.
- Many women do not receive specific recommended preventative care, and one out of seven women age 18-64 has no usual source of health care. The share of women in that age range without health insurance has also increased.
- Women are less likely than in the past to be the target of violent crimes, including homicide. But women are victims of certain crimes, such as intimate partner violence and stalking, at higher rates than men
PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT WOMEN’S RIGHTS
A poll conducted last April by the Pew Global attitudes project found a general consensus around women’s rights. Nearly all Americans (97%) believe that women should have equal rights with men, but similar to the findings of the Women in America report, most American’s believe that despite the considerable progress, we still have a considerable amount of work to do towards that end. The survey found that the majority (64%) of Americans felt that the U.S. needs to continue making changes to give equal rights with men, versus 33% who believe that the U.S. has made most of the changes needed.
A poll conducted in last November by the Public Religion Research Institute found that nearly 3 of every 5 (58%) Americans believe that discrimination against women is still a problem in the United States; a belief which is widely shared across demographic subgroups. Majorities of every religious group also believe that women still face discrimination. Among political groups, solid majorities of Democrats (67%) and Independents (57%) also agree, while Republicans are evenly divided. In contrast, nearly 6‐in‐10 (58%) of those who identify with the Tea Party believe discrimination against women is no longer a problem in the U.S.
The Pew Survey also found that the majority of Americans believe that men get better opportunities in the job market. When asked if they believed that “Men get more opportunities than women for jobs that pay well, even when woman are as qualified as men for the job,” 26% of participants who answered completely agreed, and 42% mostly agreed; whereas 20% mostly disagreed, 9% completely disagreed.
This past fall The Opportunity Agenda’s released a comprehensive and detailed analysis of women’s rights and reproductive justice issues entitled Reproductive Justice: A Communications Overview. The report offers an in-depth Meta-Analysis of Public Opinion surrounding reproductive justice/women’s rights issues; a media scan of ethnic and women’s magazines, as well as national and regional newspapers; in addition to case studies from issues ranging from the criminalization of pregnant women to sexual violence. Similar to findings mentioned above, the report finds that most Americans believe this country has made great strides in solving the problem of discrimination, although slightly more than half think more needs to be done to “give women equal rights with men.” Yet when it comes to leadership, old stereotypes linger. This combined with systemic barriers, serves to prevent women from full economic and political parity. Click here to read more or download the full report.