By Marissa Specioso
Let me start by asking a question to the female readers, do you feel as if you are treated as equal as the men surrounding you? To my male readers, do you consider women to be equal to you and other men? This topic has caused a lot of controversy over the years, and with recent events of the 2016 election, its again a topic of choice among many.
Over the course of history in the United States, women have been fighting for the same rights as men. The unequal treatment started pre-settlement and continues to present day. The article “Womens Rights” lists events that have occurred over the years from
pre-settlement to 1920’s when women were granted the right to vote. The list includes important events that women went through in the struggle for liberation. The image to the left was a cartoon created during the struggle for women’s rights.
Even after all that women have fought for and gained, January 21st 2017 was still a shocking day in history. On this day, women from around the world gathered for The Women’s March. Women gathered in protest for several purposes, but all surround the idea of equal rights (Women’s March).
But what if I told you that within women there is even more discrimination, not just for being a female. What if race played a role in discrimination on top of being a female. After reading “Women’s March Organizers Address Intersectionality as the Movement Grows” by the Huffington Post, one could see that there is tension even between white woman vs. women of color. The article talks about the controversy of “white feminism” and the history of ‘white feminism’ during the women’s rights movements. During past movements the term ‘white feminism’ meant that the movements were in favor of white women. Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, two of the co-chairs for the march, both worked to make this march equal for all women. Mollory says, “I wanted to ensure that there was no way that I would allow a convening to happen in this country, where women of color were not just a part of the conversation but rather helping to set the tone for what the conversation would be”. This march let women of color feel empowered to join the movement and set history as the ‘feminism’ movements, and not ‘white feminism’ movements. This march not only made history with the amount of women that turned up, but for the amount of women of different races, classes, ethnicities, and regions. It even included family members and friends of all ages.
And of course there are a handful of people out there that were not in favor of the march and others that do not believe we need equal rights. But I ask them this, do you not see what is occurring around the world? or do you just turn you head away from the facts? Daniel Jose Older talks in his article; “Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing” about how people turn a blind eye to racism. His article talks primarily about how racism is influencing the literary publishing world, treating it in the same manor as equal rights for women. There are many people in the world that either believe that women do not deserve the same rights as men, or they just simply don’t see the inequality, which is exactly what Older is talking about in his article. Whether we want to believe it or not, there is inequality between genders, in separation of races, in different industries, and in many more areas.
So what will it take to make you believe? Statistics? Great, because I have some. Let’s start with the article that sparked this post. “VIDA: An Interview with Erin Belieu” talks specifically about women in the literary publishing industry not having equal rights of male writers (VIDA is a non-profit feminist organization). Each year they come out with a count that examines women’s rights in the workforce. Above is one of several charts that VIDA has provided to show the gap between men and women in the industry. Between the years of 2010 and 2014, you can see a huge difference between women and men being published in The Times Literary Supplement. The amount of men is typically more than double the amount of women published. This is just one example of the literary industry, but there are many more instances where large gaps like this occur. On the VIDA website you can examine several charts, graphs, and statistics that will back up the point being made. Getting the idea now?
So we have talked about women in the literary industry, but as you can guess, this happens in any industry. So lets talk about some more statistics. In March of 2016, Forbes put out an article with, more proof that women do not have the same rights as men. The argument a lot of people make is, “They deserve more money because they have jobs that deserve more pay.” Although this statement has some truth to it, this is not what women are fighting for. They are fighting for equal pay for equal work. In the Forbes article “Women are Still Paid Less than Men – Even in the Same Job,” this is exactly what is being proven. The chart below shows the salary differences between a male and a female that have the same position/job. Jonathan Webb writes, “women are earning less for the same work.” The chart proves this statement by providing evidence that women with the same position make less and are less frequently hired.
I could continue to write about these statistics for days, but the bigger idea is not the proof, it is about what needs to be done. After the 2016 election the Women’s March occurred. This was one step in the right direction for equal rights. So what about companies having equal pay? Well rumor has it, that it is starting to occur after several protests. If you haven’t heard the news yet then you may be interested to know, that ‘Big Bang Theory’ male leads have agreed to take a pay cut, so their female leads can get a pay increase (Huffington Post). This action shows that they know that they made more money than the female roles, and believe that they deserve equality in the work field. There needs to be more community involvement and support with women’s rights. When more people act on this matter, it is then that a difference is made.
In the Literary Publishing community, everyone needs to come together to create equality. Community starts with people having similar interests, and from there they can create bonds and relationships that support one another. How can we support one another when we rank ourselves by money? Writers, Editors, Publishers, Artists, etc. all need to come together and support one another, no matter your age, race, religion, gender, etc. When we work together to support each other’s work, that is when a community is created.
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Gebreyes, Rahel. “Women’s March Organizers Address Intersectionality As The Movement Grows.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 27 Jan. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
Reston, Maeve. “Women’s march: Cathartic moment or enduring movement?” CNN. Cable News Network, 22 Jan. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
Sieczkowski, Cavan. “‘Big Bang Theory’ Leads Taking Pay Cuts So Female Co-Stars Get Raises.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 01 Mar. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
“The 2015 VIDA Count.” VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
Webb, Jonathan. “Women Are Still Paid Less Than Men – Even In The Same Job.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 31 Mar. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
“Womens Rights.” HistoryNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.