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Breaking Through

By Jill Borowski
Staff Writer

Women have been trying to get equal rights under the law for hundreds of years. Even as far back as the 1700s, Abigail Adams, wife of second president John Adams, realized that women legally were at a disadvantage. In one of her most famous quotes, she states, “We [women] will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation.”

Years later, many other women were willing to stand up and fight for the rights of women, such as Susan B. Anthony and Cady Stanton. Their efforts helped lead to the landmark decision of adding the 19th Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which gave women the right to vote.

But what exactly are women’s rights in 2014? Is it a struggle to be viewed as equal to men? Or has it been an attempt to gain clout in the workplace? Probably a little of both.

“Breaking through the glass ceiling” is a phrase that was coined to describe the hardships and sexism that women had to endure for quite some time. The glass ceiling is a metaphor in which women see the highest level of success in their field, but are unable to reach it. In many cases, women are getting paid less than men. According to data in the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012, women earned 77 cents to every dollar that men were paid.

However, women in the U.S. have made progress towards equality in present day society. Even today, the U.S. has not had a female president. However, three women have served as Secretary of State (Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton).

Woomen have served in leadership positions in other countries as well, such Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany since 2005. Golda Meir was a politician, who later became the 4th Prime Minister of Israel from 1969-1974.

Women’s rights have only recently been exhibited in the armed forces throughout the world. These rights in the armed forces, especially in combat situations, are controversial, and only recently were women given more job options in the military. In the 1970s, Western armies allowed women to serve active duty in the armed forces. Only some of these Western armies allowed women to fill active combat roles. Places such as Canada, the United States, Germany, and Israel are among some of the few countries to allow this.

Women’s rights is a sensitive subject for both male and females alike throughout the world because some are hesitant to admit that women are still not treated as equals, and many still feel strongly about income equality. While many are on board, there are a few that still suffer from prejudicial thoughts towards women.

Women are no longer expected to stay at home and be house wives (unless they choose to), but instead are readily being inspired to lead careers in jobs that used to be for men, such as doctors, lawyers, and business positions. Women are in schools and universities (and running universities, like Kimberly R. Cline, LIU president), involved in government, and have complete freedom to lead lives equal to, and alongside men. According to today’s standards, the rights of women are an extraordinary improvement to those of the past, and now the world can head in a society where women are more equal to men.

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