I am a woman so this subject is extremely personal to me. Yesterday, a friend made a comment in response to my post that it’s nice to hear my views because I have an ‘outsider’s’ perspective. I was offended by that remark, and indeed I made no reservation in showing just how I felt! I am a person as unique as anyone else in this world. I think for myself, listen to various rhetorics, and finally develop my own view on a matter. I am entitled to change that view as I get more exposure but that I was born in India does not influence my whole personality. It can influence my interests, like my interest in immigration, but it still does not guide my perspective. My thoughts on immigration are founded in logic and ethical treatment of people. I agree with Bernie’s agenda because it speaks to those core values. If I weren’t an immigrant, I probably wouldn’t bother myself with reading the plan, but if I did, I would still end up supporting it because it sounds logical. Just as if I were an American, I still wouldn’t support the candidate with the most horrific views on immigration that sound dangerously similar to an ethnic purge. Any two people will agree or disagree from time to time. You might agree with some of my posts, not agree with others, but that’s because we’re different people irrespective of the skin we wear, the countries we’re born in, or the languages we speak- we’re different at an intellectual level. And while cultural differences have a role to play, it is not always the case. My thoughts on healthcare are independent of my heritage. I don’t think I even had a view on abortion when I was in India- I was too young and protected to have to think about it. At 30 years, I have something to say, and guess what, it’s everything that a 74-year old American man is saying!
When it comes to women’s rights, I don’t have a whole lot to say besides this:
It is a shame that a woman’s rights should even be a topic of political debate, like we’re animals and men of this world have to fight for our rights (read: PETA). We are human beings just as men are and if there is never a debate about what men can and cannot do, why should there be one for us!
But this damage wasn’t done today. It has been done over centuries and now we must try to undo it. We can only look to the future and we must ensure we build a better one- we must “go forward”. I agree with all the points in Sen. Sanders plan so I have only selected the top two to talk about in detail.
Equal pay for equal effort- it is as logical as it can get and I don’t see any reason why anyone should be opposed to it. But much like my friend from yesterday, at a subconscious level, most people struggle to see everyone as equal. It is part of the cognitive process to identify a person’s physical attributes when we first meet them- man or woman, young or old, their race, etc. Our brains have evolved to register these nuances so that they can access the surroundings and any potential danger based on past experiences. It’s science and it’s all good. But there was a time when people let these differences determine how they treated the other person. After centuries of protests and progressive movements, we have reached a point in time where most people outwardly agree that people should not be treated differently. But subconsciously, they still end up doing it.
I was grossly underpaid at my former job. And I don’t say this by comparison to anyone else, but in absolute terms I was not paid enough for the hours of work I had to put in. It was a male-dominated workplace with a handful of women. So not only was I an immigrant worker which made me inherently unequal to my peers, I was a gender minority too. I don’t know how much salary my male counterparts made but it would not surprise me if it turns out to be significantly more.
Consciously or subconsciously, women are still not treated as equals in the workforce. Equal pay is more than inevitable, it is common sense!
Women have a natural disadvantage over men- pregnancy. But had this been reversed, if men were the ones responsible for bringing a new life into this world, I wonder if the term ‘reproductive rights‘ would have ever come up! Again, I am not talking about the world we live in today but the world that set the stage for some of the issues we discuss today.
Personally, I would rather see an unwanted pregnancy terminated than an abandoned infant in an orphanage, or worse, in a garbage dumpster. It does not matter how the pregnancy came about- forced or consensual- the burden falls on the woman. There are no consequences for men, even when both parties had equal role to play. To those who say women cannot choose, I say, men shouldn’t be able to choose either. If the union leads to a pregnancy, the man must sacrifice his social life just as much as the woman does, and pay for child support until the child reaches the age of 21. I would like to see how many people will change sides then.
I know someone who accidentally got a girl pregnant when he was only a teenager. He did not marry the girl but decided he was going to be part of the lives of the girl as well as their child. He stayed true to his word. He does have a wife now, and kids from his marriage, but he still takes full responsibility for his first child. But how many such examples do you hear of? Most young men walk away from such responsibility. I know someone else who has a child from a previous marriage and the ex-husband refuses to take any responsibility for their daughter. She has had to take him to court several times just so he would pay child support. But a court can only force someone to pay, not to be a good father. This woman lost her job and was going through incredibly difficult circumstances. To have to be embroiled in lawsuits on top of that? Is that fair?
Women are equal contributing members of the society and should be treated as such; I am with Sen. Sanders!