It is the 21st century, yet there is still a need to write about the often neglected issues women face in present society. As disappointing as it sounds, the fight isn't over because, despite the rights that we have gained, women are still not safe due to sexism and discrimination.
According to the United States Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 58% of women were killed by intimate partners in 2017. Many would argue that females have achieved full power, and that is true to a certain extent. We are able to run businesses, hold high positions at work, and do extraordinary things. We may have many more opportunities and resources today than those who came before us, but progress, no matter how considerable, should not always be taken as total victory.
I've been a feminist ever since I learned what it really was, and the more I learn about women's rights and how often we are deprived of them, the more I realize that we still need to keep pushing. Here, then, are some pressing issues faced by present-day women that remain to be resolved.
*Disclaimer: Discussions on physical and sexual abuse
1. Domestic Violence
This could be a direct result of how one was raised. Most parents raise their sons differently than their daughters: the latter are taught to be nurturing and maternal caretakers, whereas the former are shaped to be tough and strong, both physically and emotionally. As children grow up, they hold onto that upbringing. Boys feel as if control and dominance are key and displaying weakness in any shape or form is the lowest level of existence, and therefore resort to violence in relationships.
It is extremely unfortunate that many women, led to believe that submissiveness and timidity are qualities of a good girlfriend or wife, tolerate abuse. In many developing countries today, domestic violence is even the norm.
2. Career Expectations
Women are constantly shaped and urged to choose careers that are not male-dominated or that align with the roles society has designated for them. While men are pressured to take on leadership positions in fields such as business and engineering, their counterparts are pushed towards jobs that revolve around nurturing or caretaking.
The struggle does not end there, however, because those women who do manage to break out of society's mold continue to be inhibited in professional environments solely because of their sex. Those who hear of a female CEO or diplomat do not tend to take them seriously, and ladies with the same— or even superior— qualifications often find that the opportunities or promotions made available to their male co-workers are never offered to them.
3. Extreme Modesty
There is no doubt that females are not the only ones who struggle with body image and unrealistic standards, but it is undeniable that modesty falls much heavier on the shoulders of women when it is really a problem with the perspectives of men. "Covering up" is seen as a measure of how much "respect" a woman has for herself; if she wears revealing clothes, society makes it so that there is no other conclusion than that she views her body as an object.
Not only women fall victim to this issue, but little girls, as well. This ideology is inflicted even in schools in the form of "dress codes," which are absurd in that all they do is perpetuate sexism, sexualization, and outdated and toxic social norms.
4. Marital Rape
It is heartbreaking to know that many cultures, particularly those in developing nations, view this issue as something to be expected. They believe no one can interfere in a marriage, and therefore, a husband owns his wife and is allowed to do what he wants, when he wants, simply because they took vows.
There is absolutely no reasonable argument against the fact that forcing sexual intercourse upon a person, no matter your relations to them, is rape. It is not difficult to establish a connection between this and domestic violence, as in both cases, a man believes he can only be a man if he asserts dominance over his partner.
5. Lack of Independence and Safety
No matter how much freedom females have been afforded in today's world, there seems to always be enough room for restrictions. As it was decades before, the streets are dangerous for women in a way it usually isn't for men. Because of this, they are subjected to strict curfews, and some aren't even allowed to go outside unless it's work or school related. In reality, if parents were as stern about their sons' behaviors as they are with restricting their daughters, the rates of crimes against women would have greatly diminished ages ago.
This list is a short one, not adequate to cover the extent of what today's women continue to be unjustly subjected to. However, it does make it clear that we have a long way to go, and the feminist movement is far from over. It is ever so important that people rethink their mindsets, because that is where change truly begins.