Dear Future President,
I am a teenage girl. What comes to your mind when you read that sentence? Do you think me incapable of performing well in the STEM area, playing demanding sports, or speaking out for myself? Or do you think that as a girl I can only look pretty and talk nicely? Boys seem to have different expectations. Why were they so smart? Why did they perform so well in sports? I have also wondered about the expectations the world has for us girls and women. Why do we need to keep our dresses clean? Why do we need to excel in music? I believe that there is no difference between the physcial and mental capabilities between men and women. What about you?
There are clear disadvantages of being a woman in today’s world. In a few countries, women are still look looked down upon and thought to only excel at cleaning a house and raising children. The proof that men and women were not able to enjoy many of the same privileges just decades ago is seen in the number of women who never recieved a formal education. In America, we pride ourselves upon on having perhaps the lowest gender gap between men and women. However, there is still room for improvement as to how men and women view each other.
The first issue is the pay gap. In 2015, full-time female workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man. That is a gender pay gap of 20%. Why can’t female workers be payed the same as men? What is it about women that cause men to doubt our intelligence and skills? I firmly believe that women should not be underestimated. Data collected by White House officials in 2013 showed that over 60% of men had pension plans while only 55% of women had one. Take the time to imagine the women who are currently facing this predicament. They have completed years of education only to be doubted and underesimated. How will they feel when they see a male counterpart who has worked just as hard as them but is given a higher paycheck? The gender pay gap only causes angst for women and results in them doubting themselves. We were all supposedly born equal, right? Let’s get rid of the gender pay gap and show that we all view each other as equals in this country. My question to you is, “What will you do about the gender pay gap?” If a regular American girl such as Susan B. Anthony can fight for a women’s right to vote, then surely you must be powerful enough to pass a law that will allow women to earn the same as their male colleagues. Women deserve the same opportunities and privileges as men.
The second issue is fighting for paid leave. Why is it that mothers must be forced to return to work so quickly after delivering? Do they not deserve the right to spend time with their newborn son or daughter? States such as California and New York have already created laws that can guarantee up to 6 weeks of partially payed salaries. Yet, that it not enough. The various other states need to consider creating similiar laws and revising them so that they provide a longer time period spent away from the office with a little more than half of the salary. The work places are putting too much pressure on mothers. My mother, a working pedriatrician, meets such moms in her office. They complain that their employers give them little time to spend at home. They mourn the fact that they need to make a choice between family and the workplace. Look at Norway. The mothers are permitted to take 18-35 weeks off from work. Why can’t we introduce that same policy in the United States?
As President, you must make some sort of effort to close the pay gap and fight for paid maternity leave. States such as California and New York have already done so. Using your influence on the people, encourage the other states to propose laws promoting equal pay. Fighting for paid leave is another issue, which if resolved, will improve the lives of millions of women. Rally for longer periods of maternity leave. Fight for offices to pay more than 55% of salaries towards their women who are taking leave. Look out for the women of this country.
I’m a teenage girl. One day I will grow up and hopefully be living in a reformed society. I, as a woman, would like to earn the same as my male counterparts. I, as a woman, would be grateful to spend time with new family members for a more reasonable time period and not have to worry about the paycheck. I, as a woman, want to live in a world where “Women’s rights are human’s right.” so as to quote one of the Presidential candidates. Gender equality must exist before we turn our minds to solve the various other controversial problems that are disrupting the lives of millions.