Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For women in America, equality is still an illusion - washingtonpost.com

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From Jessica Valenti at the Washington Post:

For women in America, equality is still an illusion - washingtonpost.com: "We have no problem condemning atrocities done to women abroad, yet too many of us in the United States ignore the oppression on our doorstep. We're suffering under the mass delusion that women in America have achieved equality.

And why not -- it's a feel-good illusion. We cry with Oprah and laugh with Tina Fey; we work and take care of our children; we watch Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice proudly and sigh with relief, believing we've come so far. But we're basking in a 'girl power' moment that doesn't exist -- it's a mirage of equality that we've been duped into believing is the real thing.

Because despite the indisputable gains over the years, women are still being raped, trafficked, violated and discriminated against -- not just in the rest of the world, but here in the United States. And though feminists continue to fight gender injustices, most people seem to think that outside of a few lingering battles, the work of the women's movement is done.

It's time to stop fooling ourselves. For all our 'empowered' rhetoric, women in this country aren't doing nearly as well as we'd like to think."

Valenti provides some statistics and tackles the question 'why the blinders?' Yes, American women are better off than many women around the world, but this isn't an either/or situation.

"And perhaps if the pay gap here were closed, women would have more money to spend on causes overseas. It's time to do away with the either-or mentality that surrounds domestic and international women's rights."
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