Dear Madam or Mr. President,
I am frustrated. I am frustrated because a legitimate candidate for president of our great nation – yes, Mr. Trump, if you happen to be our next president, I’m referring to you – has, for what feels like the millionth time, gotten away with yet another instance of inappropriate comments and disparaging remarks directed towards women.
Such comments, while they draw media attention and uproar from the majority of the population, seem to do little to actually hurt his campaign. Now, as a girl who is just beginning to identify as a woman, it is understandable why this frustrates me.
These comments reveal a painful truth about our country: women in America are a greatly undervalued and underestimated resource. According to the Department for Professional Employees, women make up roughly 47% of the workforce. According to the Department of labor, nearly 60% of all American women participate in said workforce. Yet, women are still trapped by the stereotypes of motherhood and fulfilling one’s wifely duties.
On August 18th, 1920, women in America gained the right to vote via the 19th amendment. While this amendment initially only applied to white women, it has been around for nearly 100 years. In those hundred years, the lives of women have changed drastically. From the advent of birth control, to the founding of planned parenthood, to the Roe V. Wade decision, to the numerous “first female” something-or-others America has since 1920, it has been a period of much needed change.
That said, our fight is far from over. We are exactly a month away from possibly electing the first female president of the United States of America. There are women alive today who were born without the right to vote. Women, on average, earn nearly 25% less than men for equal work. Paid maternity leave is a luxury denied to many working mothers. Women are stopped from abortions on a daily basis, and are called murderers for using birth control. Women who chose to prosecute their rapists are still being asked “what were you wearing” and are viciously smeared both in courtrooms and chat rooms. We are judged by our appearances rather than our minds.
This needs to change. If our country wants to persevere through this trying era of global unrest, women need to be part of the conversation. Women need to be valued as potential leaders, not just as potential mothers. The cracks in the glass ceiling have spread so that it’s only seconds away from crashing down.
Women have earned the right to be treated as equals to men. In fact, we’ve earned it a thousand times over. Women have proven time and again that we are more than ready to take on the challenges of global leadership. Our hormones and high heels are clearly not the problem. The problem is that our world is deeply rooted in a patriarchal structure that no longer makes sense.
To keep women from achieving their fullest potentials as government officials, CEOs, engineers, surgeons, dancers, activists, teachers, lawyers, professors, and yes, mothers, our country has suffered the loss of many brilliant minds.
It’s 2016, Madam (or Mr.) President. Why does gender continue to divide us so sharply? It’s up to you to add women to the conversation. We have a lot to say, and we promise, you’ll want to hear it.