Some Ugly Truths About the “Fair Sex”

Hi guys! I’ve been looking up facts and statistics all morning for one of my jobs (with a lot of random music in the background to keep me going), and I came across some interesting ones related to this blog–facts I think you should probably know.

But first, there is something I need to say…which is this: Feminism is not dead.  The movement for equal rights in general is not dead.  I’ve heard all kinds of statements–that feminism is irrelevant to women’s lives today, that we don’t need feminism anymore, that the gay rights movement can calm down in New York because we now have same-sex marriage–and I am here, ladies and gentlemen, to debunk those little rumors.

Because feminism is still alive–and we DO still need it.  We don’t need SUFFRAGETTES anymore, is what we don’t need, but amazingly, those are not quite synonymous.  What, you think we have perfect gender equality in this country?  I hate to play the equal pay card but…I’m still going to.  But on top of that, tell me why it’s such a big deal that women want to run for president or vice president?  If this country truly saw us as equal, then it wouldn’t be a big deal, it would just be another person maybe running for president.  And then, explain to me why some corporations have structures that deliberately make it so that women are not advanced at the same rate as men.  You give me an explanation for that, and then we can talk about whether or not feminism is still needed.

Same deal for the LGBTQ movement.  I’ve heard less about us not needing this branch of advocacy, because so many states still have gay marriage outlawed.  But what about adoption?  Foster care?  Employment?  Housing?  What?  You didn’t know that it is still totally legal in some states to discriminate in the hiring process on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity?  And don’t pretend you didn’t know that kids are still getting beaten up in school and harassed online.  I know no one reading this blog lives under a rock.

So now that we’re clear on why we still need activists…let me give you some clues as to what it is that the MODERN feminist movement is advocating for (other than equal pay).

In AMERICA, 1 in 6 women will be the survivor of a completed or attempted rape in her lifetime.  For those of you who like percentages, that’s about 17%.  That’s in America.  I’m not even going to get into the international side of this statistic.

In AMERICA, every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted.

In AMERICA, between 20-25% of college women are the victims of a completed or attempted rape during their college years.

In AMERICA, only 5% of rapists (factoring in unreported rapes) will ever see the inside of a jail cell for their crimes, leaving the other 95% to walk free.

And if that’s in the United States…consider what is happening in the REST of the world:

In UGANDA, in 2004, members of parliament moved to block a bill that would outlaw spousal rape, claiming that refusing sex is the most violent thing a wife can do.

In COSTA RICA, 80% of women report that they have been the victims of some form of violence.

In AFRICA, only about 16% of parliamentarians are women.

In THAILAND, only 9% of parliament is made up of women.

In EL SALVADOR, 66% of females in domestic service reported that they had been physically or psychologically abused, often sexually abused, and that the threat of sexual advances from employers was a constant problem

WORLDWIDE, as of 2000, at least 6 million girls who would otherwise be alive are “missing” due to sex-selective abortion, infanticide, or neglect.  That number is still rising.

WORLDWIDE, 4 million girls are trafficked annually.

WORLDWIDE, women make up 70% of the world’s poor.

WORLDWIDE, studies have shown that 1 in 4 women is physically or sexually abused during pregnancy.

And those are just a few of the facts and figures out there concerning problems facing women both in America and around the world.  So tell me again that we don’t need feminism, that women’s rights are secure, that gender equality has been achieved.  But before you try to tell me that, look at the facts.  Look at the domestic abuse statistics across different demographic and socioeconomic groups.  Look outside the United States, and then look next door at what is going on right in front of you.

Sources for this post:

Goldberg, Michelle.  “The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and the Future of the World”.  2004.  The Penguin Group (New York, NY).

United Nations Office on Drug and Crime.  “Crime and Development in Latin America: Caught in the Crossfire”. 2007. Available online at http://www.unodc.org/pdf/research/Central_America_Study_2007.pdf

Feminist.com, Anti-violence Resource Guide: Facts About Violence.  Available at http://www.feminist.com/antiviolence/facts.html

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~ by Randi Saunders on July 9, 2011.

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