It’s a more than even chance that our next president could be a woman. As the old cigarette commercial said, “You’ve come a long way, Baby!”
But we haven’t come far enough, as this graphic from the National Women’s Law Center shows. Just look at the pay disparities, especially among women of color.
When I started working in daily newspapers in 1982, I was paid $50 a week less than a man in the same level with the same experience.
I complained and got a raise, and later found out he got a raise, too, to keep his paycheck larger than mine. He was after all, a man, and I was just a women.
It was assumed that I was just working for spending money, even though I had two children to feed, clothe and shelter and my coworker was unmarried and lived with his mother, whose house was paid off.
It didn’t matter. I deserved less because I’m a woman.
And that’s not all. I had to have a “note” from my doctor — in addition to the prescription — saying my prescription for the Pill was for medical reasons and not birth control, while men were able to get testosterone treatment without any special requests.
Until the mid-1970s, an unmarried woman in Massachusetts couldn’t get birth control. If she did, she wasn’t the one punished, though; it was her doctor who faced charges.
Most of the people who make the decision to force women’s health clinics to close are men, and they do it under the guise of being “pro-life,” — even though nearly all of what these clinics do is provide health care to women who have no other place to go for well-woman checks, contraception and cancer screenings.
Here in North Carolina, legislators have led a fierce and prolonged attack on women’s rights.
Remember the so-called Motorcycle Safety Bill that shut down virtually every women’s health clinic in the state? That bill contained precisely 17 words about motorcycles. The rest was all about denying women their right to health care and to legal abortions.
Women make less money than men, and now we have less access to quality health care.
Some legislators are talking about making birth control pills non-prescription, supposedly so women can have greater access. But making them over-the-counter will mean insurance policies can’t cover the cost. Women will have to pay the full price, not just a co-pay.
More women live in poverty than men, partly because we make less, but also because we usually are the ones who care for our children and men all too often get out of paying sufficient support for their children.
It’s time for us to stand up and put a stop to this attack on our health care, our reproductive rights and our incomes. We need to work together, and we need women of all ages, not just women who fought the fight 50 years ago.