By Kristine Pascual, March 7, 2023

Despite it being 2023, women are still facing many inequalities. Whether it be in the workplace, at school or just on the street, women unfortunately still experience harassment or gender discrimination. 

We’ve come a long way because women didn’t have many rights for many years. It was not until 1893 that New Zealand became the first country to allow women to vote. Even today, women have difficulties voting in various countries. 

I recently came across a religious preacher at Cal Poly Pomona. I had heard him yelling and screaming about something that had to do with femininity, as well as speaking on politics. I was minding my own business until I heard him make a statement that female victims of sexual assault are lying. 

His “evidence” was that 1 in 4 women on college campuses have experienced sexual assault. He then challenged everyone by asking, “What does it mean to be violated?” This infuriated me for all victims. This old man is just one of many reasons why so many victims are afraid to come forward. People like him make victims think that if they did come forward, they would be seen as dramatic or that they are lying. 

I went up to him,  and attempted to hear him out and try and understand what he was speaking on. However, it became clear to me that he was just yelling without evidence to back up his arguments. I was angry, so I yelled at him asking why he was trying to invalidate victims of sexual assault. What reason did he have to stand in the middle of a liberal campus to scream things that are untrue?  

I was done trying to reason with him, so I just lost my cool and cussed him out until I had to go to class. He called me a potty mouth, but I did not care as my yelling had gotten other people to stand up and challenge him, too.

He had zero evidence or facts to back up his poor argument. I went up with him to triedy and to listen to what he had to say, but nothing was clicking. To me, this was simply a man who held deep anger with women. 

Lauren Wong | The Poly Post

But having spent four years at the an all-girls private high school that I did, it was emphasized amongst the community that women are equal to men. I was familiar with mansplaining, but it never occurred to me how often it happens outside of that small bubble until I stepped into college with thousands of students. In high school, we saw each other as peers, friends and even sisters for some girls. 

But when I arrived at college, the environment was extremely different. Unlike high school, I now encounter mansplainers in my classes. I am aware that some men do not mean to dumb things down, but I get offended when they try. I have asked questions in which I expected a one-word response, and then there is the man giving me a full-blown explanation, which was completely unnecessary and unasked for. 

I learned that this still happens on a day-to-day basis, and I have grown to pay more attention to it.

In light of Roe v. Wade being overturned last year, people are debating whether abortion is constitutional. The ongoing debate not only angered me but confused me. I am a young woman, and I believe that women should have a right to choose. No one should be telling them women what to do with their own bodies. 

Ironically, many of those who oppose abortion are male figures. Some of these men are public figures who have prominent positions, such as former president, Donald Trump and NFL player, Tim Tebow. 

There is still a wage gap between men and women. The gender pay gap has remained relatively stable over the last 20 years, with women earning just 82% of what men earned in 2022. For every hour worked, men earn 18 cents more than women. Why is that? There is no answer. 

Many also lack respect for women and even take to catcalling them in public. Women are being treated as objects, and it is utterly disrespectful. Being catcalled is embarrassing and annoying. Doing so makes women uncomfortable and possibly unsafe.

Though the #MeToo movement helped and encouraged a lot of women to come forward regarding their experience with sexual assault, it still happens and is going unreported. I know that it is difficult, too, but I strongly encourage victims to come forward. 

Women’s rights are human rights.

Feature image by Lauren Wong

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