16 Unfair AF Reasons Women's Equality Day Is Still Necessary -- Yes, in 2016

16 Unfair AF Reasons Women's Equality Day Is Still Necessary -- Yes, in 2016

women's rights protestEvery year, Women's Equality Day commemorates that wonderful day back in 1920 when women were finally granted the right to vote with the addition of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. Nearly a full century later, women make up about half of the workforce, earn a higher percentage of college degrees than men, and can thank the Affordable Care Act that prevents health care companies from gender discrimination. We also have the chance to elect our first Madam President this fall. So, we've certainly come a long way, baby. 

But there's plenty of work to be done and glaring inequalities that American women still face every day.

Here, stats, personal stories, and quotes show exactly why, in 2016, we still need Women's Equality Day.



Image via Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • Women still face blatant sexism at work.

    Image via Miriam Pastor/Flickr

    "I've recently decided to switch career paths, partly due to the treatment of women in marketing/PR. At my last agency, I worked under an executive director whose misogyny is difficult to articulate, because so much of it was very subtle. The most blatant example I can remember was when I was having difficulty setting client expectations. I wanted to make him aware of the situation and ask how to set expectations without angering the client. I went over what I would say with a coworker (she was a director of her department). Feeling confident that what I would say would be direct and to the point, I went to my executive director and voiced my concerns. His response, 'Well, first, let's not get emotional.' Nothing in my delivery was emotional. I then witnessed a male coworker literally throw a tantrum in this same executive director's office, and the executive director didn't even bat an eye." -- Shannon S., 29, Orlando, Florida (told to CafeMom)

  • Sexism ... even when they have the same qualifications as men.

    Image via Luke Jones/Flickr

    "I have a PhD in biochemistry and recently co-taught a course with a male colleague at my university. In reading through the course evaluations once it was over, I was irritated when many students referred to me as 'Ms. M.' and him as 'Dr. Y.' I never once referred to myself as a Ms. or Mrs., and I worked pretty hard for that degree!" --Jill M., 35, Athens, Georgia (told to CafeMom)

  • Women are still a minority on the Supreme Court and in Congress.

    Image via Roman Boed/Flickr

    Of eight Supreme Court justices (nine prior to Justice Scalia's death earlier this year), just three women represent the female half of the US population on the bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. And that is the most women ever seated on the court at once in US history.

    104 women held seats in Congress in 2015, which equates to just 19.4 percent of the 535 members. How does that break down? 20 women (20 percent) served in the Senate, and 84 women (19.3 percent) served in the United States House of Representatives.
  • Men are still governing women's bodies.

    Image via Charlotte Cooper/Flickr

    Perhaps because we don't have nearly enough female representation, or simply because there are way too many male legislators who want to send us back to the Dark Ages, we still have to fight against legislation that aims to govern women's bodies and reproductive rights at state and federal levels.

    Just one example of how this affects women and children: After the GOP-led Texas state legislature cut funding to reproductive health-care clinics, the maternal mortality rate doubled in just a two-year period.

  • One in five women in the US has been raped.

    Image via David Shankbone/Flickr

    One in five women in the US has been raped in her lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. That's compared to one in 71 men. Of course, one rape is one rape too many.

  • It's still the 'Mad Men' era in some workplaces.

    Image via Adikos/Flickr

    "I used to work at a defense contractor. The company was heavy on engineering. We had an all-engineering meeting once with about 50 people -- two women. There were women in sales and contracts, but not in technical roles.

    "After a while, I noticed that if I was present in a meeting everyone would wait for me to drive the computer. Like, regardless of if they were above or below me in the hierarchy. Rooms full of men too afraid to use a keyboard.

    "I called it out to the VP in charge of my department, and he said I was just the best at it. Really? The only woman was the best at typing and making copies?

    "I also once accidentally gained access to company-wide salary information and found out that someone with the same position in a different division made 25K more a year than I did. He had more experience, but I had three times the direct reports and more education.

    "Before I left that job, they hired another women engineer who just left due to blatant sexism ... who often texts me, 'Remember in college when we didn't believe sexism existed any more?'" --Lindsay G., 35, California (told to CafeMom)

    More from CafeMom: 18 Absurdly Offensive Postcards About Women That We'd Never Let Fly Today

  • The pay gap is all too real.

    Image via Pictures of Money/Flickr

    Even though women make up 47 percent of the workforce, those of us working full-time and part-time earn only 84 percent of what our male counterparts make. Worldwide, women make 77 percent of what men make -- and, for women of color, the stats are even worse. 

    • In fact, by the time a college-educated woman turns 59, she will have lost almost $800,000 throughout her life due to the gender wage gap, according to findings from the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
  • Equal pay for equal work doesn't even exist in Hollywood.

    Image via Elliot / Splash News

    "I would be lying if I didn't say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn't want to seem 'difficult' or 'spoiled.' At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn't worry about being 'difficult' or 'spoiled.'

    "I'm over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable! F*ck that. I don't think I've ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It's just heard." -- Jennifer Lawrence, "Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?," Lenny, October 2015

    More from CafeMom: 11 Women Who Are Breaking Barriers in Hollywood's White Male World

  • Women still have a tougher time getting quality health care.

    Image via ProgressOhio/Flickr

    Although the Affordable Care Act states that gender should not affect the cost and quality of care a person receives from any provider receiving federal funding, gaps in private sector and publicly funded programs mean almost one in eight women are uninsured. These women often have inadequate access to care, get a lower standard of care when they are in the health system, and have poorer health outcomes.

    Also, because women are more likely than men to be covered as dependents, a woman is at greater risk of losing her insurance if she becomes widowed or divorced, her spouse loses a job, or her spouse's employer drops family coverage.

  • Military women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than killed by enemy fire.

    Image via California National Guard/Flickr

    Women make up almost 15 percent of the active duty members in the United States military. But these women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire (20 percent of women in the military are sexually assaulted), according to recent statistics. Even worse, these crimes are often covered up or result in discipline of the victims, not the perpetrators.

  • Too few women are "running the show."

    Image via AdMedia / Splash News

    Director Kathryn Bigelow told Time in 2015, "I have always firmly believed that every director should be judged solely by their work, and not by their work based on their gender. Hollywood is supposedly a community of forward thinking and progressive people yet this horrific situation for women directors persists. Gender discrimination stigmatizes our entire industry. Change is essential. Gender neutral hiring is essential."

    Emma Watson agrees, having told the Guardian: "I have experienced sexism in that I have been directed by male directors 17 times and only twice by women." 

    More from CafeMom: 17 Times We Were Proud to Be Women During Hillary Clinton's DNC Convention

  • Moms are passed over for career opportunities.

    Image via Donnie Ray Jones/Flickr

    "I had an executive coaching client who asked why her male colleague was offered a plumb overseas opportunity when she was not, even though she has more seniority and knew she was being paid more than him (!) for an excellent work performance. The response was, 'Oh, since you have kids we assumed you wouldn't be interested.' Needless to say, she set them straight and they will never (hopefully) assume what she would or wouldn't want without asking her. However, since the guy had already taken the global division job they didn't take it away from him, so she lost out this time around, and now he's gotten a leg up on her in the competition for a promotion to the executive suite. You can't make this stuff up." — Dana Theus, Arlington, Virginia (told to CafeMom)

  • Women are asked some seriously weird questions if they have kids.

    Image via NBC

    "I have these meetings with really powerful men, and they ask me all the time, 'Where are your kids? Are your kids here?' It's such a weird question. Never in a million years do I ask guys where their kids are. It would be comparable to me going to a guy, 'Do you feel like you see your kids enough?'" —Amy Poehler, Fast Company, June 2015

    More from CafeMom: President Obama's New Essay Is a Feminist Dad Manifesto

  • One in three women have been sexually harassed.

    Image via Liz Welsh/Flickr

    One in three women between ages 18 and 34 reported being sexually harassed, in a 2015 survey by Cosmopolitan. For women in tech, it's even worse. 60 percent of women in STEM reported having experienced unwanted sexual advances at some point in their careers. The survey focused on women with at least 10 years of experience, with most (91 percent) of the participants in the Silicon Valley area. A large percentage (39 percent) of sexual harassment goes unreported.

  • There are far too few female CEOs.

    Image via Max Morse via Wikimedia Commons

    Women currently hold 24, or just 4.8 percent, of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. (To find out how many women are at other levels of S&P 500 companies, take a look at the Women in S&P 500 Companies pyramid.)

  • Women suffer without mandated paid maternity leave.

    Image via Raul Hernandez Gonzalez/Flickr

    Although 178 countries in the world mandate paid maternity leave, the US is one of the only countries in the Western world that does not. This makes it much harder for women to balance the economic need to work with the demands of caring for their children, and according to a recent Pew study, this can cause undue stress for moms. 

    More from CafeMom: Raising a Family in America Is Stressful -- Especially if You Live in These 20 Cities

women's issues feminism

More Slideshows