Previously we talked about the 5 biggest issues women still face in 2017. Here are 5 more problems women face that didn’t make the first cut, but are just as important. Learn more about each issue below and join LiveYourDream.org to find out how to be part of the solution.
Women are More Likely to be Victims of Human Trafficking
Let’s be clear. Human trafficking = modern day slavery. Research tells us:
- There are approximately 12.3 to 27 million people in the world today enslaved in forced labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude.
- About 80% of trafficking includes sexual exploitation.
- 98% of sex trafficking victims are women and girls.
Even by conservative guesses there are close to 10 million women and girls forced into sex slavery each year. It’s a devastating truth that these women and girls are violated, traumatized, and deprived of their basic rights. If you want to help restore the dignity of these women and girls, the first step is to help raise awareness about trafficking.
Women Aren’t Paid Equally for Equal Work
In 1963 the U.S. Equal Pay Act prohibited wage discrimination based on a worker’s sex. And yet, over 50 years later, women are still paid an average of 79.6 cents to every dollar earned by men. Even when you factor in the differences between industries and positions, women are still earning less than men for doing the same jobs.
There’s also the problem that certain jobs done predominantly by women–like nurses—pay less on average than jobs done by men—like construction work. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that the poverty rate for working women would be cut in half if women were paid the same as men for comparable work.
Women Are Discriminated Against in Hiring
Women today have more access than ever to education and training that makes them eligible for greater job opportunities. But just because they’re qualified doesn’t mean they’ll get the job. According to research, there’s a distinct bias against hiring female candidates.
- One study found that both male and female managers were twice as likely to recruit men, based on paper applications, even when the women’s applications were just as strong.
Shifting this mentality will take years of education and affirmative action, and it starts by recognizing that women bring valuable leadership to the workplace.
Women and Are Held to Harmful Beauty & Sex Standards
For the first time in a century of popular culture, we’re starting to hear people say that beautiful women can be overweight, have stretch marks, be non-white, or have disabilities. But stereotypes of “flawless bodies”—white, blonde, small-nosed, pert-breasted, long-legged—still set unrealistic standards of beauty, contributing to low self-esteem and in some cases, dangerous behaviors.
- 20 million women suffer from eating disorders at some point in their lives
- 35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, or using diet pills or laxatives.
- Since 2000, cosmetic plastic surgery procedures have risen 115%.
The prevalence of sexual imagery is also having a damaging effect on women’s wellbeing. Advertisers rely on sexualizing women to sell their products, and girls are bombarded by explicit and implicit messages that their bodies are sexual objects that exist to pleasure others. With the internet readily available, kids are also being exposed to sexual imagery younger and younger, some of it very extreme. Studies have shown there’s a link between consumption of violent pornography and the likelihood of attempting rape.
The first step is to increase awareness and question what is normal and acceptable. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, Dear Kate, and the Always LikeaGirl campaign, are beginning to show us more empowered—and non-sexualized—images of women.
What 10 hours of street harassment in NYC looks like, public service announcement by Hollaback!
Women Aren’t Safe in Public Spaces
If you’re a women, chances are you’re familiar with the sense of unease that comes with being in certain public spaces. Maybe you’ve been catcalled in an obscene fashion. Maybe you’ve walked home alone at night and carried your keys like fist-knives, in case you get jumped by a stranger trying to mug you or worse.
- 65% of all women have experienced street harassment.
- 20% of all women have been sexually touched by a stranger.
These are a few examples of the ways that women experience heightened fear in public. Women are far more likely than men to be victims of sexual harassment and violent crimes, so they are taught early to stay vigilant.
The solution? We should be taking steps to prevent the causes of that fear—i.e. create a society that respects women’s integrity and privacy. It starts with supporting women’s empowerment.