On Jan 21, 2017, as many as 4.6 million Americans gathered in demonstrations across the country in protest of expected challenges under newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump.
Believed to have been largest single-day demonstration in our country’s history, the Women’s March demanded full recognition of women’s reproductive rights, the culture of violence against women, and the conversation on intersectionality.
Four years later, our nation followed predictions and has taken several steps backward.
Thirteen states have passed restrictive abortion laws in the past two years. More than 19 million women live in contraceptive deserts as of 2019, according to Planned Parenthood.
Countless in-person and online resources for lesbian women, bisexual women, transgender women, and women of color have been eliminated from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Unfortunately, the list goes on and on.
Many of us have taken a sigh of relief under the new administration, and for good reason. However, with over 200 federally appointed, cross-country judges that came about under the Trump administration, there is still a fight ahead. Now, more than ever, we need to consolidate.
The conversation on intersectionality and the rights of women in our country has been one fraught with misconceptions and often times, levels of exclusivity. According to a 2020 study by PEW Research Center, only 61% of American women call themselves “feminists”—which really comes as no surprise.
Classrooms across the nation teach children about the first meeting of the women’s suffrage movement at Seneca Falls in July of 1848. What is not taught is that no women of color attended – that historically, women’s movements haven’t meant “all women.”
Women’s movements have focused on breaking the “Glass Ceiling” for women at the top of their respective fields and identities for a very long time. Now, it’s time to address the systemic issues that trap certain female demographics into low-wage, low-mobility careers – the “Sticky Floors” of American society.
According to a 2020 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, white women receive 82 cents on the dollar compared to white, non-Hispanic men in the same position. . Looking closer, a Black women in the same position is typically paid 63 cents, while Native American women receive 60 cents and Latinas just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
There is a clear systemically disproportionate treatment of women with multiple layers of identity within our society. Women cannot and should not be separated by their “pre-categorized” identities. Not only does each identity carry its own issues and stigma, but so does every cross-section. This, in essence, is intersectional feminism – understanding and supporting that women of diverse backgrounds often deal with multiple layers of injustice.
This Woman’s History Month, let’s remind ourselves that feminism is equality for ALL, because our work is not nearly done. Celebrate all women and the wonderfully diverse packages they come in.
Keep advocating. Keep marching. Keep supporting one another.