What a Feminist Looks Like
Women are the most amazing gender of the human species. Their strength is unmatched by their male counterparts. The ability of their bodies to protect, nurture, and grow the future of humanity is unequivocally the single most important function of any system on this planet.
It's absolutely stunning that in 2019 women feel they are under attack from the highest office in the land. During the presidential campaign it became obvious that Donald Trump doesn't respect women and both his actions and language prove it. President Trump has already used his first full day in office to end funding for nongovernmental organizations that offer abortion counseling. I do not believe this is where his overreach into the lives of women will end.
It's time for us to fully protect the rights of women to exist simply, as women. We can blame Trump for his inappropriate viewpoints but it's literally just his 5th day in office at the time of this writing, it's important to remember that things weren't how they should have been prior to his arrival. Donald J. Trump is a symptom of a much larger issue with our national structure.
The very first thing that we need to do is to provide equal pay for equal work. This is not a radical concept. Women should be paid as much as men when comparing jobs with similar tasks. Women typically earn 77 percent of what men make. If you believe in capitalism & democracy then you should agree on this issue. The only possible argument is whether women make less than men in general. We need better mechanisms in place to analyze the pay of each gender and to hold accountable those corporations and managers that discriminate against women solely on gender bias.
The second action that we need to take as a nation is to provide women with paid maternity leave. Currently, women are able to receive a mandatory 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. This is a disgrace at a most basic level because not all new mothers will be able to take 1 unpaid day of maternity leave and definitely not 12 weeks. The sad truth about the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind is that most American's live paycheck to paycheck. This may come as a shocker if you are a part of the establishment or elite but the suffering is real for many in America. We need to provide paid leave to strengthen our families and to back up the "family values" talk that both parties obsess over. Supporting new mothers and their children makes America strong.
The third thing that we need to do is create an affordable system of childcare. This is important for single mothers but it's also important for every type of family unit. Since there are no plans to reduce the number of hours worked in the United States, we need to make sure that families aren't struggling to care for their children. Stretching household time and wallets too far hurts the overall economy as well as the quality of life for many hardworking Americans.
A fourth and overlooked strategy that we need for empowering women and men as well is Universal Basic Income. It was Franklin D. Roosevelt that stated, "necessitous men are not free men." How can we expect people to truly be free and make decisions independently of their spouses, family, or even co-workers when their most basic needs for survival are connected to someone else?
I know what you're thinking. How does this play a role in creating policy that enhances women's rights? The answer is domestic violence.
Money makes the world go round and unfortunately, it's a common reason why women feel they have no other choice but to stay in abusive relationships. This shouldn't be hard to understand. What dread or anxiety consumes people on a day to day basis like personal finance? I have been there. We almost all have been there at some point in our lives. American's tie our financial existence to things largely outside of our control. We stay on jobs working for less pay and/or advancement prospects in return for financial security all the time.
Fear of the unknown is the strongest fear of them all. Universal Basic Income is the policy that frees everyone and if you get onboard for one reason it should be so that no woman ever chooses fear of her spouse over fear of the financial unknown again.
Finally, I would end all dealings with countries who treat women as second class citizens. This is 2019. No religion or national norms should relegate women to objects that are property of their male guardians. If this sounds extreme to you I'm glad. This is how the United States needs to act. With values and morals that are unquestionable and unshakeable for any purpose or reason. There is not a single country on the planet that can function normally and feel secure without a working relationship with the United States. This is not to say we will bully other nations into agreement. Instead we will lead the world by setting an example.
The first country that comes to mind due to the security relationship and perceived oil interest is Saudi Arabia. I by no means intend to single out Saudi Arabia, however it's difficult to overlook this nation in terms of access to the United States and it's atrocious women's rights record. The very first action I would take is to end the importation of oil from the Saudis.
America currently imports about 11% of it's oil from Saudi Arabia. We could make up this difference elsewhere and with the transition to renewable energy that we should and will eventually make as a nation in the near future we are talking about something that is inevitable.
What I would be more concerned with other than the largely symbolic move to end oil imports from Saudi Arabia is the sharing of intelligence information. In this area the Saudis are a mixed bag. They have exported Wahhabism, a more radical islamic view around the world. The U.S. consensus is that this has led to more radicalization and increased terrorism. In addition, some of the September 11th hijackers were Saudi Nationals who received funding from Saudi Arabia. They do have the capability to supply useful intelligence at times. But at the end of the day the world views of our two countries seem diametrically opposed. We should reflect this in our dealings with them.
Saudi Arabia's guardianship system traps some women in a system of domestic violence. At the very least, it's antiquated and degrading. We should be doing more to help these women by not normalizing the system they live under.
American's are tired of a foreign policy that appears more concerned with upsetting the rest of the world than doing what is right. This is what needs to happen for America to be exceptional. We must practice what we preach and stand up for women in every country around the world. We must look for new ways to chart societies course into the future. If we fail to do this than we will fail to lead, which is the single most dangerous thing we can do as a nation.