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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Outside of your bubble: women march for all women

Sarah Dutton
Holly Travis

Last Saturday I watched news and social media in amazement at the millions of people around the globe who participated in the Women’s March. 

On Sunday, I watched as my Facebook timeline filled with posts from women who could not understand why a march was needed. According to these women, they already had all the rights they needed. 

I will first say I understand the root of this argument to some degree. I grew up in a household with many opportunities and parents who made it clear that my gender did not affect my goals or academic pursuits. 

I registered to vote when I turned 18 and when I graduate in a few months, I am equipped with the agency to pursue whichever career I choose. What more could I want, right? 

In a photo from the Women’s March, I read a sign that stated, “Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally.” 

In this case, privilege is sharing a post rejoicing in all of the rights you enjoy without considering whether your neighbor can say the same. 

The  website for The Women’s March lists a range of principles the movement represented. 

The list includes disability rights, civil rights, reproductive rights, ending violence against women and much more. 

Claiming the march seemed pointless because “Debra from Facebook” appears to have all the rights she needs is a gross disregard of the issues millions of women spoke for on Jan. 21. 

During the march, many activists brought attention to the remaining wage gap between men and women. The Pew Research Center reports that as of 2015, white women earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by white men. 

For black women, this gap is even larger, earning only 65 cents for every dollar and for Hispanic women earning 58 cents for every dollar. 

Even when looking at rates for only those with a college degree, the wage gap persists with white and Asian women earning roughly “80 percent the hourly wages of white college-educated men” and black and Hispanic women earning about “70 percent of the hourly wages of similarly educated white men.” 

Another issue represented at the march is the need for paid family leave in the United States. 

The UN’s International Labor Organization found that out of a 185 surveyed countries, the United States and Papua New Guinea were the only nations to not offer monetary benefits for family leave. 

Women who are not guaranteed paid leave at their job will often have to combine vacation days and sick days to cover their time after giving birth. For lower-income women and  single women, the time off from work without pay is especially devastating. 

More worker’s rights for parents would help relieve these issues. As a 2012 Rutgers study pointed out, providing paid leave would reduce the likelihood of a woman requiring public assistance in the year following a child’s birth by 39 percent. 

This issue is one that should matter to both men and women, and demands that we hold President Trump accountable to his proposal of providing paid family leave. 

The wage gap and paid leave are just a few of the many reasons women marched last weekend.

The list of the many goals  that marchers aimed to achieve extends beyond these few examples and I hope people take the time to learn about each one. 

Most importantly, though, I urge those who were quick to revel in their already present equal rights to reflect if this was done in privilege, without considering whether other women felt the same. 

When sharing your post, did you consider the gravity of what the wage gap means for women of color? Did you recall your mother’s time off from work after a sibling was born without wondering if other mothers had the same experience? 

Did you think of the many times your parents told you that you could grow up to be anything, with no concern for the little girls whose only advice comes from a media that focuses on her beauty rather than intelligence? 

Did you remember the safety of your home growing up without acknowledging that we live in a country where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports that 1 in 5 women are raped during their lifetime? 

Astonishingly, this is in a nation where a man who has bragged about his sexual assault against women can be elected President. After all of this, can you still say there is no need for marching? If not for you, for others.

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Outside of your bubble: women march for all women