Prior to my participation in the Women's March Los Angeles, a woman asked me: who doesn't believe women's rights are human rights? This is a valid question, so I wanted to answer it openly.
It's important to start with:
We live in an incredible country that I believe is already great.
I'm so thankful for my right to vote, freedom to express my opinions and ability to pursue my passions--thanks to brave women who marched decades before me. But when I look beyond my individual (privileged) world, I see inequalities still exist, negatively affecting others (directly) and me (indirectly).
(My Women's March LA squad)
It’s our responsibility to get outside of our inner world to positively impact the much bigger world around us. We are meant to continuously evolve as individuals and communities. So just because our country is already great, doesn't mean it shouldn't become even greater.
Each individual who marched Saturday had their own reason(s). Here is mine:
I want to help empower women so nothing stands in their way of being whoever they want to be.
Too often a lack of personal safety, career opportunities, and access to resources (like health care, education & even food) is getting in between women and their wellbeing and potential.
And until little girls see more women represented in powerful positions (in the media and real life), there will always be a confidence gap between men and women too.
(I loved seeing all the little girls with big dreams)
Here are a few facts showing women (as a whole) are still unequal to men in the U.S.:
-1 in 5 women has been raped (CDC Survey)
-85% of domestic violence victims are women (Violence Policy Center)
-Women make 20% less than their male counterparts in the workplace (this gap is larger for women of color). (U.S. Census Bureau)
-Women are 35% more likely to live in poverty than men (National Women's Law Center)
-Women make up only 4% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies (catalyst.org)
-Policies helping women with the above are made by (an 80% male) congress (Center for American Women and Politics)
So back to the question: who doesn't believe women's rights are human rights? The answer is: the facts. Many individuals are responsible for them, and many individuals are victims of them. Behind these facts are issues affecting real people... including many of my friends and family.
(With my LA bestie, Ava)
And these are issues that could affect you, me or our (future) daughters some day.
As long as these numbers remain, we are stifling the potential of other women... and everyone in our country. Which advancements, discoveries, inventions and works of art don't exist because a woman hasn't been given the opportunity to make them? This is also a valid question.