Me Too.

This past week, a social media thunderclap emerged from the following suggestion from actress Alyssa Milano: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”  According to ABC News, as of October 19, 2017, “1.4 million and counting tweets included the hashtag, along with more than 13 million posts, comments and reactions on Facebook.”

Let those number sink in for a moment:

One-point-four-MILLION tweets, and thirteen MILLION Facebook posts.

 

But these tweets and posts are more than numbers: They’re your sisters and daughters and mothers and friends and neighbors and coworkers and bosses and strangers and everyone.  I literally do not know any females who haven’t been sexually harassed at one time or another, even if it was something as “harmless” as a catcall.  And it’s not just women, it’s boys and men as well. But my writings today are focused on the women who are affected by this pervasive and invasive societal norm.  I’ve already written elsewhere a bit about my own experience with sexual harassment so I shan’t retell my story here.  My aim instead is to emphasize how these same women are affected by politics, oftentimes in deleterious ways.

 

We are a society where political policy- decided upon by elected representatives, and social norms- or the outcomes of these policies, are interwoven.  In theory, we the people elect our representatives who then create policies with the best interest of the citizens in mind.  When we disagree, we elect someone new. (Or when we REALLY disagree, we engage in civil disobedience.)

 

Allow me highlight a few examples of how political policy adversely affects women.

 

The Equal Rights Amendment has not been passed since its introduction in 1923.

“The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), written by suffragist leader Alice Paul, was first proposed and introduced in Congress in 1923….The amendment has been reintroduced in every session of Congress since that time.”

What this means, essentially, is that women do not have equal rights under the law.  Here it is:

    • “Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
    • Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
    • Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.”

Introduced every year since 1923.  

To give you a frame of reference, the bread slicer was invented in 1927.

The Equal Rights Amendment is literally OLDER THAN SLICED BREAD.

 

 

 

The Gender Wage Gap has narrowed to 83 cents for every dollar a man makes. But it still exists.

According to PEW research:

In 2016, women earned, on average, 83 cents for every dollar earned by men…Still, the gender wage gap persists, and the reasons for that are complex….difficult to quantify, such as gender discrimination, the persistence of gender stereotypes and women’s limited access to male-dominated professional networks.

 

 

The last one I’ll discuss is most closely tied to the #MeToo movement.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, a Trump nominee for this position, removed Title IX related-protections for students affected by sexual assault.  

Guest commentator Julie Donelon, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault in Kansas City explained what this is and why it’s important:

College students are at a high risk for experiencing sexual violence. We know that 19 percent of women and 6 percent of men will experience sexual violence before they graduate from college.

Title IX isn’t just about disciplinary hearings for accused rapists. It’s about accommodating survivors so they can feel safe and advocate for the changes they need to try to stabilize their lives after the trauma of sexual assault.

In addition to providing survivors of sexual violence resources to ensure proper accommodations are being made and safety concerns are addressed, Title IX also gives survivors a voice while making the issue of sexual violence on campus more visible. Awareness and prevention education in schools on the issue of sexual violence has helped remove the stigma of sexual violence, encourage survivors to come forward, and prevent sexual violence in the first place.”

 

19 percent of women and 6 percent of men will experience sexual violence in college.

I don’t know how many people that is, but I do know I don’t want anyone I know (nor anyone I don’t know, for that matter) to be included in that statistic.  

And I’m sure you don’t either.

 

These are just a few examples of political policies that adversely affect women, and there are certainly more.  (Don’t even get me STARTED on healthcare).  In short, who you vote for matters.

 

We live in the greatest country on the planet, where we enjoy freedoms that are unimaginable to people in other countries. One of these rights, the right to vote, was gained by women on August 18, 1920 (less than 100 years ago!) with the 19th Amendment.  And so as we approach this year’s Election Day, 97 years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, I implore you to educate yourself on the issues and to “remember the ladies” (as Abigail Adams asked of her husband back in 1776).  

 

 

One-point-four-MILLION tweets, and thirteen MILLION Facebook posts.

Will you be at the polls on Election Day, supporting candidates who support women?  

Me too.

 

ElectEva.com

 

P.s. Local organizations that support and endorse candidates who support women are the Nassau Women’s Democratic Caucus, and National Women’s Political Caucus of Nassau County.  National support and endorsements come from organizations such as Eleanor’s Legacy and Emily’s List. (Note: Emily’s List is also great if you’re a woman who’s thinking about running for office!)

 

To donate to this female candidate, click here: https://evapearson.nationbuilder.com/

 

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