How Much Progress Has Actually Been Made?

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Author: Mari Moss

It is 2018, and you would think that after all the toil and struggle of women’s rights from Seneca Falls, Sojourner Truth and the fight for equality of women today- we should have made it. However, upon review, we have to wonder how far we have actually come. Women gained the right to vote via the 19th amendment, since August 18th 1920, but we still are largely treated like second class citizens. The pay gaps still abound at about .75 cents to the dollar of the opposite gender when holding the same positions, and depending on race, you could be even more disadvantaged. Women are expected to do the impossible, going to work,  balancing family and making it all look effortless has almost become taboo. In fact, some woman with aspirations and goals, are thought to have mental illness just for trying. Especially if you are a woman who wants to make any kind of impact and change the world for the better. Forget that most people crazy enough to try to change the world are usually the people who do. No, woman today are only allowed to have enough self-respect to get by?  Why are women in this modern age still expected not to research their options and not take abuse or disrespect from any system or people who try to put her down?  Any woman trying to challenge status quo is erroneously dismissed as someone who must be mentally ill. That is always a great scapegoat for women who are on the rise to be greatly diminished. It is the best way to tamp down positive energy, focus, and passion for trailblazers seeking equality and justice.

To make matters even more complicated, add in now a topic we all would rather shy away from, domestic violence. You do not have to travel to a third world country to see tyranny and misogyny in action. It is right on our doorstep here in America. Women used to be called crazy just because they had ambitions and goals within their careers. Now it is being used as a ploy to separate them from their children, jobs, livelihood and more.  Some abused women end up in jail with criminal records for reporting abuse they’ve encountered, many end up dead, with untold stories of trying to survive under the tyranny of a man who looks upon the woman as property.  You are supposed to be silent and reduce your pain and suffering. You are supposed to allow injustice so you can” get by” and lose yourself and your soul in the process. The injustice of these situations is alarming. 886 phone calls to one precinct, yet there are women who have been raped or abused and end up in Rikers Island as the victimized victim at the hands of perpetrators who have no consequences. It sounds almost mythical until you see the statistics, and for every statistic, you find there are many more you don’t and will never even hear of.

Today in our court system, and I am speaking in regards to New York City Courts particular, women are often stuck in abusive situations and their children are at stake. The family court has been a mutiny for abused women even though there is a family justice center directly across the street and a Safe Horizon’s within the building. There is a need for a meeting of minds to understand and correct the hows and whys a women’s children can be taken from her. With the way things are going a woman might as well get briefed early that if they carry the child, and give birth to the child, they might as well hand it over to the courthouse because if they are not careful, that is just where they might end up. Reports from the agencies are almost useless in the support of the mother and are mostly erroneous filled with details that are fictional and haphazardly show the level and lack of professional standards at best. Even more alarming are women who are willing to – speak, vote and go against their own selves. Lawyers that are used to elevate the men over downtrodden and abused woman whom the courts continue to decimate with rulings that largely ignore the abuse that women endure. Not only that the bond between the mother and her children are often put through therapy matters, in an effort to get children to get used to not having their mother so the father can get on with the business of moving on without having the responsibility of child support.  Most women dejected and humiliated, have to work and frankly get tired of going in circles in a system that is meant to make them eventually give up hope. They have to find support groups and rely on friends just to get by. However, that is not enough in a pointless fight if they never get anywhere in a backlogged system that can go for years in the wrong direction even if they are well off.  Yes, gone are the good old days when a man would just leave a woman, for another, they take the kids too.

Injustices like these have no demographic. It happens to accomplished women, educated and esteemed women when they least expect it. There is no justification for it and no life interruption insurance for it except that’s just the way it is and until women really get past the lip service and get on the same page and are committed to doing the right thing, this cycle will continue.

I am certain women in the 1800’s never dreamed of the strides women would make today. I am certain every century, women were amazed at the strides and accomplishments that were made, but it is clear that there is still a lot lacking and a lot more to do. The question is, are there women out there committed to doing what is needed to make things right?

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