Gender Wage Gap and Women's Rights in America

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Until today, the United States of America performed significant movements to assure women's rights since the 17th century.

Individuals who opposed extra efforts to ensure women's rights claim that a notable number of women in the U.S. now work in the government, own businesses, and gender unfairness has declined (Milligan para. 1-10). But, women in America still make less than men for the same positions and qualifications, are furthermore discriminated against in areas of work, and encounter sexual disturbance, among other challenges, hence more effort needs to be made to assure equal rights for women in the American culture. Women's right refers to efforts made to secure equal rights for women relative to those of men (Milligan para. 2). Opponents might point that the U.S. society has made a considerable stride in establishment and protection of women rights thus no more work is needed. This is a valid argument because women in the country could own property prior to colonization era. However, the country adopted the English system of property ownership after colonization in 1769 (Milligan para. 2). The system prohibited married women from owning property in their names. However, the law was abolished in 1848 through after passage of the New York’s Married Women’s Property Act that allowed women to own properties.

Women were also denied equal voting rights. Thanks to the First Women’s Rights Convention where the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolution was signed (Milligan para. 6). The resolution allowed equal treatment of men and women under the voting rights of women in the country in 1848. Twenty years later, the National Labor Union (NLU) campaigned for equal pay for equal jobs in 1868 (Milligan para. 7-8). The union required women to be paid the same as men for equivalent jobs with same qualifications. The Congress supported the equal pay policy by requiring Federal Equal Pay for equal work in 1872.

The U.S. also did not allow women to vote or vie for offices prior to the 19th century. The Equal Rights Party nominated the first women to run for the presidency in the U.S. in 1872 (Milligan para. 8-9). Unfortunately, no woman was allowed to vote. The Supreme Court prohibited women from voting in a case that involved Minor v. Happersett in 1874. Women were also discriminated against in workplaces until the late 19th century. From opponents’ perspective, changes began when African American women established the National Association of Colored Women in 1896 (Milligan para. 14-16). This is a logical observation because the organization promoted equality for women by raising funds to support children and women. The union also opposed racial violence and segregation. Mary McLeod Bethune organized another union called National Council of Negro women that opposed discrimination based on gender, race, and also job discrimination in the late 1890s.

Further search shows that the U.S. has continued making a significant move towards securing women’s right since 1900 to date ((Milligan). For example, Women’s Trade Union League was established in 1903. The league advocated for improved working conditions and wages for women. The 19th Amendment was also ratified to give women the right to vote since 1920. The U.S. further revised the Equal Rights Amendments in 1943. However, substantial cases of discrimination against women in the workplace were still reported in 1963 (Milligan para. 23-26). As such, the equal rights amendment was improved to include fair hiring, affordable child care, and paid maternity leave. The Equal Pay Act became a law in 1963 and Civil Rights Act was passed one year later. The other changes included an extension of the Civil Rights Protection to women in 1967, the passage of the Title IX of the Education Amendments in 1972, the establishment of Abortion Right in 1973, and signing of the Fair Pay Act into law in 2009 (Milligan28-35).

Although the U.S. has done remarkable work to secure women’s rights since the 17th century, more work is still needed. Opponents seem to have overlooked a number of facts. First and foremost, the U.S. ranks number 28 out of the 145 states in a global ranking of equality for women released yearly (Bush para. 5). The country also dropped 8 places in 2015 in terms of wage equality for same work and women in public offices. Further research shows women occupy only about 26% of high government positions in the U.S (Bush para. 10). Therefore, the country needs to put more efforts to establish more women’s rights while protecting the existing ones.

In conclusion, the U.S. has done a recommendable job in establishment and protection of women’s rights. However, more work is still needed to uplift women’s rights in the country to the same level as Iceland and Norway among other countries leading globally in terms of promoting women’s rights.

Works Cited

Bush, Mia. US Women Make Strides Toward Equality, But Work Remains. VOA News, 8 Mar. 2016 https://www.voanews.com/a/international-womens-day-us-women-gender-equality-work-remains/3223162.html. Accessed 12 June 2017.

Milligan, Susan. Stepping Through History: A Timeline of Women's Rights from 1769 to the 2017 Women's March on Washington. U.S. News, 20 Jan. 2017, https://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2017-01-20/timeline-the-womens-rights-movement-in-the-us. Accessed 12 June 2017.

October 25, 2022
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