Why Do Men Take Credit For Women’s Work?
Men take credit for women’s work for one reason: because they can. it’s just one of the many injustices women endure simply because they’re female.
Being unequal under the law has plagued women in all countries for generations – and has left women vulnerable to second-class treatment in all areas of life. Unless the law mandates equal treatment of women, the government – all officials in all branches, at all times, has the right and the power to treat you differently and worse simply because you are a woman.
In 2020, the United Nations released a report on the global status of women, in which it said, “No country has achieved gender equality.” In the United States, the primary cause of this problem is the United States Constitution, which has never recognized women as fully equal persons under the law. When the Constitution was first adopted, women barely existed, and married women were subjected to a doctrine called coverture, which said that a married woman had no legal status apart from her husband. When the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868 it said “persons” shall have Equal Protection of the laws, which you would assume would cover women because women are persons, but the Supreme Court refused to recognize women as persons with Equal Protection rights until 1971! Even after 1971, women remained unequal because the 1971 case had a catch: the Court said women’s Equal Protection rights would be unequally enforced in the courts. Try to make sense of that. How can a person have unequal equal rights? But that is exactly what the court said and it is where women stand today, because the Supreme Court has continually refused to elevate women to full equality under the Fourteenth Amendment. While this suggests the solution lies with putting better justices on the Supreme Court, the reality is – it doesn’t matter who we vote for or which justices get appointed. Here’s why. The most recent Supreme Court decision on the status of women under the Equal Protection clause was issued in 1996. It said that women are not entitled to equal treatment under the Equal Protection clause. The author of that ruling was none other than Ruth Bader Ginsburg a seeming proponent of women’s equality. Putting aside the questions this raises about whether Justice Ginsburg was ever a sincere supporter of women’s equality, the fact that she endorsed the unequal treatment of women makes clear that the Supreme Court will never do the right thing for women, regardless of the ideological make-up of the Court.
The only solution is to fix the Constitution so that it recognizes women as fully equal persons once and for all. To do this, we need the Equal Rights Amendment. It states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state, on account of sex.” Simple, right? Who could possibly object? The reality is, both major political parties object strenuously to women’s equality because monied interests profit greatly from women’s second-class status. This is why the ERA has not yet been added to the Constitution despite the fact that women have been fighting for it for more than a hundred years. December 13, 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of when the ERA was first filed with Congress. Women have never stopped fighting for it, yet most people have never heard of it, and those who have aren’t sure we need it anymore. After all, women seem to be doing OK – we even have a woman Vice President. Very few people are aware that the ERA was ratified by the states and became valid in 2020, but the Trump Administration and then the Biden Administration blocked it from being added to the Constitution. A lawsuit was filed in MA federal court to force both administrations to put the ERA in the Constitution, but the Democrats and the Republicans fought against the lawsuit – making the same arguments against women’s equality. The Biden Administration is still blocking the ERA today. He even refused to remove the Trump Administration’s memorandum that first blocked the ERA in 2020.
It’s time for women to heed the call of Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party and unite as a fiercely nonpartisan group against both parties until one of them does the right thing. Alice held both parties accountable by leveraging the women’s vote against whoever was in power and had the capacity to help establish women’s equality. She didn’t care about a politician’s views on anything else – just suffrage and equality. As a single-issue non-partisan organization, the Woman’s Party was extremely effective – which is why Alice Paul was marginalized and the Woman’s Party maliciously disbanded.
Most people in America don’t even know that women are second-class citizens with second-class rights. This TED Talk addresses the history of women’s struggle for equality, and explains why women will never be assured equal treatment under any laws – including child custody laws, free speech laws, and even laws against slavery – no matter how the laws are worded – until the ERA is in the Constitution. Even laws that appear to give women equality, such as equal pay laws and civil rights laws like Title IX, won’t help because they are subject to unequal enforcement. It’s like pushing crumbs around on a broken plate. They just fall through the cracks. We have to fix the plate FIRST and the only way to do that is to put the ERA in the Constitution and explicitly establish women’s equality at the legal baseline once and for all.
One of our country’s most important freedoms is that of free speech.
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