The thing women have yet to learn is that nobody gives you power. You just take it. ~Roseanne Barr
Say what you will about Roseanne Barr but she makes a very good point here. Though the tide has been turning in recent decades, particularly after three major waves of the women’s movement throughout the 19th century, there is still a major power imbalance between men and women. Men still hold the lion’s share of power in most facets of life, including politics and law making, the workplace, and the home. Without a century of protesting and insistence that women be given equal rights to men, women would still not have the right to vote, to educate themselves, to work outside of the home for monetary compensation, or for their voices to be heard on both micro and macro levels.
Indeed women have come a long way in the power struggle for equal treatment and opportunity, but the imbalance still exists despite laws to eradicate the disparity. However, laws can only touch on the problem superficially. The real challenge is to change social consciousness and that is much more difficult to do. To many men and yes, even women, there is still a prevalent perception that women are the weaker gender, therefore they should not be afforded the right to be treated equally to men. That undercurrent in some people’s consciousness is why women are still even fighting to be treated equally at all. The result is multifaceted; we still see many women facing physical abuse every day from abusers who attempt to assert their power over them to keep them in line. There is still a glass ceiling in the workplace which hinders most women from advancing to positions of power, particularly in the corporate world. Even in other workplaces, women still get paid much less for doing the exact job that men do. Statistics Canada reports a 28% wage gap between men and women who do identical jobs. That means that for every $1 a man makes, a woman makes only 72 cents. We also see very few women in powerful political positions where they would be able to properly legislate women’s issues.
Yes, the pushes and pulls in the power game have allowed women more equality over the past century but it appears that we still have a long way to go to get a lot further than just lip service. Roseanne Barr is correct in that power is not just given to women. Power must be demanded and taken. In the past it has been done by force which is what has led us to modern day circumstances. To get beyond the current conditions, however, women, in the company of the wonderful men who have joined the fight for women’s equality, must continue to be outspoken on the issues that affect them and demand to be treated fairly rather than succumb to the realities of the status quo. ~Gia