Women’s rights are human rights


Illustration by Nicole Kanaras

Women are constantly objectified against in every aspect of life, and we need to work to bring light to the issue. Potential and capability should not be determined by gender but by performance.

A huge crowd of men and women march down the streets of Washington D.C., chanting loudly and holding signs for equality during the Women’s March.  People of many races, ages, and sexual orientations from across the nation gather together as one to fight for the rights of women.

“I do not wish [women] to have power over men, but over themselves,” English author Mary Wollstonecraft wrote.

This quote represents the view of women around the world who are fighting for their rights among men through marches and protests, much like the Women’s March that took place on Jan. 21 in Washington D.C., as well as in over 500 U.S. cities and 100 international cities.

So the question we propose is this: why are women in 2017 fighting for the same reason that Wollstonecraft was in 1792? It has been 225 years, yet men and women still do not have equal rights.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women have been receiving unequal pay. In 2015, women earned 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man in the same job.

Additionally, women of all ages have been objectified and sexualized in school, the workplace, the media, and more. In an interview with Esquire about the media, President Donald Trump said, “You know, it really doesn’t matter what they write…,” and then continued with a derogatory and explicit statement about female anatomy.

Women have also been seen as incapable of fighting for our country in the military. We are stereotyped and grouped as a gender unqualified for protecting our nation.

According to Vice President Mike Pence’s op-ed titled “Women in the Mulan Military,” “Many young men find many young women to be attractive sexually. Many young women find many young men to be attractive sexually. Put them together, in close quarters, for long periods of time, and things will get interesting…Moral of the story: women in military, bad idea.”

President Trump also stated something similar on Twitter in May of 2013. He wrote, “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military – only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

Furthermore, many people are concerned with recent events regarding a woman’s choice over her body.

While we recognize and respect the Catholic beliefs taught in religion classes and understand their value, many women are concerned with potential laws restricting birth control and abortion due to Trump’s potential plans for health care. The outcome could affect many women personally – for example, birth control is not only used to prevent pregnancy, but also to regulate painful menstrual cycles and to control hormones.

As human beings, we should all be deeply concerned about these decisions and statements. We must stand together to support the rights of all women. We must protect our freedoms and  liberties. As actress and women’s rights activist Emma Watson said in an article from CNN, “How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” The time to change is now. We cannot repeat history, and we will not reset the clock.

We are women, and we need our voices to be heard and respected. Our rights are human rights, and our bodies belong to us.

We decide how we are respected, touched, and treated. We are just as capable as a men. We stand with feminists for the equality of genders.

We will not submit.

We will not be silent.

Paige Alban is an In-Focus Editor and Alyssa Kraus is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com