Why do women continue to feel a lack of freedom in today’s society?

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The twentieth century made big strides toward women's equality in the United States with the right to vote, right to own property, anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, and sexual liberation. However, women are still vastly treated as second-class citizens and subjected to the power that men have widely possessed.

In recent years, the women's movement has focused closely on sexual assault and harassment, looking for more justice and accountability. While it's true that anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, women make up 91% of rape and sexual assault victims, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. And according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), fewer than 1% of reporting will lead to a conviction or incarceration. Rates of sexual assault and abuse are higher for women of color, lesbian and bisexual women, and transgender women. The Human Rights Campaign reports that 46% of bisexual women experience sexual assault in comparison to 17% of heterosexual women and 13% of lesbians. The HRC also claims that 47% of transgender people experience sexual assault with the majority of the victims being people of color.

Reproductive rights continue to be an issue for women. While abortion has been legal in the United States since 1973, it has remained at the forefront of many political races. The Guttmacher Institute says many states require a counseling session with a minimum of twenty-four hours between the counseling and the procedure; several states require ultrasounds; six states inform the patient that "personhood begins at conception." Many women have found these stipulations to be invasive and problematic. The claim of personhood has been widely debated by those claiming to be pro-choice and pro-life.

The majority of people living in poverty in America are women and children, with the rates being highest for women of color. In a 2013 study by Status of Women in the States, women made up 15.5% of the country's impoverished, while men made up 11.9%. Single mothers made up 43.1% of women in poverty. This is often attributed to the gender wage gap; women on average are paid 20% less than men. Legal Momentum claims that women make up 60% of the lowest-paid workers in the country, claiming that "the salaries for the vast majority of jobs held by women, in industries such as retail and hospitality, are consistently lower than in traditionally male career paths, such as construction, engineering, and energy." Additionally, the lack of affordable childcare contributes to the poverty rate, as single mothers seemingly have only two options: pay high costs for childcare or stay home. Women in low-paying jobs often don't have the benefits of taking time off for pregnancy; this can be because their jobs do not offer paid maternity leave or because the maternity leave pay isn't substantial enough to live on.

This only touches on a small handful of the grievances of women. Issues can vary by race, ethnicity, economic class, religion, and sexuality.

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