In 2012, far more than any other year, women secured a prime position in National and Global news. While some refer to 2012 as the “Year of Women” a complete examination of the year’s developments yields a more nuanced perspective. It seems that in the news, every positive piece of legislation or female accomplishment was negated by a minority population who remains intent on quashing female empowerment. For that reason, it seems fitting to compile a list of victories and loses for women in 2012. These successes show how far we have come as a society while the failures serve as a constant reminder that sexism and misogyny are far too ingrained to disappear in one year.
5 Reasons to Celebrate:
- PM Julia Gillard of Australia presents probably the best, most blunt diatribe against sexism that politics has seen in quite some time.
- Women dominated the Olympics, comprising more than half the team and winning 29 of the 46 Gold Medals.
- In the most recent election, women broke records in both the Senate and the House, with women gaining three seats (from 17 to 20) in the Senate and the most female House members since 1992. And Tammy Baldwin shattered one of the highest glass ceilings for women in American politics, by becoming the first woman ever to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.
- Sandra Fluke eloquently spoke out against Rush Limbaugh for the slut shaming tactics he and numerous others employ.
- The Affordable Care Act ensures that private insurance companies provide birth control and other preventative care services without co-pay.
5 Reasons for a long sigh and shake of the head
- Women are still behind in education, seen as second class citizens by the law, and generally unsafe in most parts of the world.
- While Olympic success story Gabby Douglas was widely praised for her accomplishments, she could not escape criticism of her hair.
- In spite of gains in Congress, women are still woefully underrepresented in American politics relative to almost all nations in the world.
- Despite Sandra Fluke’s public incrimination of slut shaming, it is still prominent on the internet on anonymous, sexist websites.
- Pro-Women legislative steps have been taken, however our nation is lagging on one of the most important steps: Equal Pay Laws.
Going into the New Year, there are undeniable reasons to be optimistic about the state of women. Yet, in putting together these lists, I had no difficulty thinking of additions to the “long sigh” component. In fact, it was disappointingly simple to look around and clearly identify regularly occurring instances of sexism. For me, the realization that on a yearly basis, women are forced to contend with far more negativity than positivity was a sad one. Ideally, every individual will have this realization in time because it inspires action and ensures that someday women won’t be struggling to make their gender a positive attribute.