Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, says that it seems to be increasingly difficult to talk about sexism, equality, and women's rights in a society that perceives to have achieved gender equality. "In this 'liberal', 'modern' age, to complain about everyday sexism or suggest that you are unhappy about the way in which women are portrayed and perceived renders you likely to be labeled 'uptight', 'prudish', a 'militant feminist', or a 'bra burner,'" she explained.
But just like Bates, there are plenty of women who prove this notion wrong. And you can find many of them on the subreddit r/TrollXChromosomes. It's an online community that invites to "come for the period comics" and "stay for the cultural awareness", and many, in fact, do — the subreddit has over 817K members. The content they share and produce tackles important gender issues in all sorts of fields, including sports, health care, and work.
Continue scrolling and check out some of its latest posts. For the earlier ones, fire up Bored Panda's first article on r/TrollXChromosomes.
The pandemic isn't making this any easier, too. According to UN Women, the global champion for gender equality, there are 6 urgent issues women are facing during the time of COVID-19.
1. Violence against women and girls. "Before the pandemic, estimates said one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime," the organization said in a statement. "As economic and social stresses rise, and movement is restricted by lockdown and stay-at-home guidance, instances of violence are likely to increase. At home, survivors of domestic violence may be trapped with their abuser, with limited access to support services, healthcare, and justice systems. And in public, women are at heightened risks of violence navigating deserted public spaces and transportation."
2. The gender pay gap. "Around the world, women are at the frontline of the COVID-19 response as they make up the majority of health and social care workers, especially as nurses, midwives, and community health workers, and account for the majority of service staff in health facilities as cleaners, launderers, and caterers. Yet, an average gender pay gap of around 28 percent exists in the health workforce," UN Women wrote.
"Once occupation and working hours are accounted for, the gender pay gap is 11 percent. Although the health sector performs well regarding women’s participation, it still harbors discrimination against women in earnings, and full-time employment and leadership roles for women are lagging."
3. Digital gender divide. UN Women pointed out that studies online have become the new normal but not everyone can continue their education because internet access remains a privilege. "Many around the world, including girls from poor households cannot participate in remote learning, since they lack the required tools, skills, and technologies."
"It was already a dire disadvantage that girls, women, and marginalized groups are least likely to have access to technology, and as the COVID-19 pandemic has moved so many aspects of daily life online, the lack of connectivity has become even more alarming, exacerbating existing gender inequalities."
The Tea Is Hot With This One
4. Informal work and instability. The pandemic has deeply affected women's livelihoods and income. "Women typically earn less and hold less secure jobs than men. With economic activity at a halt during the pandemic, women working in the informal sector have seen a dramatic decline in their capacity to earn a living. Adding to the loss in income and paid work, many women are also juggling an increase in unpaid care and domestic work."
But according to UN Women, this can change. "It's on all of us to share the added burden of unpaid domestic and care work at home and speak up for a gender-aware response to the economic shock of COVID-19, including supporting women in the informal sector."
5. Period poverty and stigma. "Even before the pandemic, women, and girls have been facing discrimination when they menstruate. In some parts of the world, they are seen as dirty, untouchable, or a disgrace. Whether it’s a lack of money to buy pads, tampons, or other products, access to toilets, or discriminatory laws and practices, women and girls, especially the world’s poorest, are deeply impacted by their periods," UN women continued.
The organization stated that it's especially challenging for women and girls to manage their periods safely and with dignity during a crisis.
"The provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygienic conditions are essential to protecting human health. Yet, today 500 million women and girls globally are estimated to lack adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management. This puts women and their families at greater risk of infection. Periods don’t stop for the COVID-19 pandemic, and neither should our efforts to break harmful taboos about menstruation and end period poverty."
6. Underrepresentation as leaders in health. "Women make up 70 percent of the health and social care workforce, and they are more likely to be front-line health workers, especially as nurses, midwives, and community health workers. This exposure raises women’s risk of infection (in fact, infections among female health care workers are up to three times higher than among their male counterparts). Yet, women remain in the background of decision making, underrepresented in health sector leadership, and missing from the center of the COVID-19 response."
There might be a record number of women serving in the 117th Congress but society still needs to go a long way and start treating them the way they deserve.