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HOW VOTING IMPACTS WOMEN’S RIGHTS ISSUES

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THE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY IS FAR FROM OVER

Even after the passing of the 19th amendment that granted white women the right to vote, women’s rights continue to be targeted by not only men in government, but simply men who vote against women’s equality. The bill was passed over 70 years after the first National Women’s Convention that took place at Seneca Falls. The United States was far behind giving women the right to vote in comparison to other countries. Fifteen countries had already given women the right to vote by the time the United States passed the 19th amendment. 

Women Suffrage Movement in the 1920s
Women Suffrage Movement in the 1920s

The 2016 presidential election of President Donald Trump proved to women worldwide that the fight for women’s rights was far from over. There was a difference in voting patterns between men and women in the 2016 election, perhaps because women recognized the blatant disrespect they were receiving from the presidential candidate. 54% of women voted for Clinton while only 42% voted for Trump. 

Considering Trump’s rhetoric surrounding women, it is interesting to acknowledge that 53 percent of white women voted for him. This is primarily because a majority of conservative women did not agree with the political correctness that they saw Democrats embracing. These women also supported Trump’s strict immigration policies. Throughout the election process, Donald Trump used his campaign to speak out against strong women who he disagreed with, most famously Rosie O’Donnell. Videos were also leaked of the former President talking about women in disrespectful ways, and there were multiple sexual assault allegations made against him as well.

Protesters march near the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Protesters march near the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Becky Harlan/NPR

Donald Trump’s presidential election without a doubt affected women in many ways. While campaigning for his presidency, Trump made many promises to his supporters that he was going to defund Planned Parenthood. Though he ultimately failed in this mission, he revoked some of their protections and made his negative intentions surrounding women’s health care very apparent. Perhaps one of the biggest moves the Trump administration made in regards to dismissing women was the election of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. After his nomination, Trump was vocally opposed to the #MeToo movement because he did not believe in the notion of believing all women.

Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford being sworn in before testifying in front of the Judiciary Committee
Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford being sworn in before testifying in front of the Judiciary Committee

While it is undeniable that women have progressed by holding seats in various levels of public office, they still hold significantly fewer seats in office than men do. There are now more women holding seats in Congress than ever before in U.S. history, however, there are still significantly fewer women in Congress than men. There are also some party discrepancies in regards to the percentages of women in Congress. Women make up 38 percent of the Democratic party in Congress and 14 percent of Republicans. These discrepancies between women and men in Congress can be attributed as part of the reason that women still do not have equal treatment in society: they don’t have as many people to rightfully represent them. According to Pew Research, 64 percent of women versus 49 percent of men believe that the United States hasn’t done enough in regards to providing women equal rights.

It is clear that women have made landmark victories over the years in regards to fighting for their equality, however there are still policies and people who hold government office that have negative effects on women’s equality. Even with the election of Kamala Harris as the Vice President in 2020 and a record number of women in Congress, women continue to fight for their equality in the United States. Women are still underrepresented in Congress leaving women feeling as though they are not being represented equally in relation to men. When women hold places in office, they are able to advocate for women and write laws that will ensure steps towards equality in all aspects of society.

International Womens Day March.
International Womens Day march. Getty Images