March is Women's History Month.
There's still a long way to go before women can truly enjoy equality.
Women often encounter double standards in healthcare, parenting, and the workforce.
Women are still not paid the same wages as men for doing the same jobs in the US.
The Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, but the US is still far from giving women equal pay for equal work.
In 2020, women earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The gap also varied among different racial and ethnic groups. It took white women an extra 98 days to earn what a man made in a year, while it took Black women 214 days, according to the 2020 data.
Assertive women are often considered "bossy."
An assertive, successful woman being seen as "bossy" and less likable than a man with a similar demeanor is just one of many subtle ways women are treated differently in the workplace.
A 2012 study published in Research in Organizational Behavior found that descriptive gender stereotypes (ideas about what women are like) and prescriptive gender stereotypes (ideas about what women should be like) impede women's professional advancement. When women exhibit a more assertive leadership style stereotypically associated with men, they face "disapproval and social penalties" that keep them from getting promoted.
One study of women in tech published in Fortune found that women are more often called "abrasive" and "bossy" in performance reviews while men are praised for being "aggressive." A Skyline Group International report also found that "Women who check detailed progress every day are seen as micromanaging and bossy" and that "employees are more receptive to women in leadership who present themselves with poise and authenticity."
"It's a Catch-22," Dr. Sonya Rhodes, a psychotherapist and author of "The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match," previously told Business Insider. "Whatever women do at work, they have to do it nicely. But the more you back off, the more they don't take you seriously."
According to a study, women who had more sexual partners were stigmatized, but men were rewarded.
A study published in Social Psychology Quarterly in 2009 found that "greater numbers of sexual partners are positively correlated with boys' peer acceptance, but negatively correlated with girls' peer acceptance" among adolescents.
"According to the sexual double standard, boys and men are rewarded and praised for heterosexual sexual contacts, whereas girls and women are derogated and stigmatized for similar behaviors," authors Derek A. Kreager and Jeremy Staff wrote.
Women are often still expected to change their last name when they get married.
The practice of a woman adopting her husband's last name dates back to the patriarchal marriage arrangement in which a woman was transferred from her father's ownership to her husband's.
Even so, the tradition is still prevalent. A study of wedding announcements in The New York Times from 1971 to 2005 found that 18% of brides kept their own names. A 2011 study published in Gender and Society found that out of 1,200 adults surveyed, 70% believed that a woman should be required to change her name after she gets married. And more recently, a 2017 study in Gender Issues found that women who keep their last names are viewed as less committed wives by men of lower education.
Only nine states have laws that help a man change his name after marriage.
It's easy for men to get vasectomies, but women are often denied tubal ligations.
Women who request tubal ligations have been required to write essays defending their desire for the procedure and receive their husbands' permission to undergo sterilization, according to a 2019 Vice News report. Women also reported having difficulty finding a doctor willing to perform tubal ligations at all.
A 2010 study by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology found that 59% of doctors would discourage a 26-year-old patient from undergoing a tubal ligation if her husband did not want her to have one, and 32% would discourage that patient even if her husband agreed.
Meanwhile, vasectomies are performed without requiring permission from one's partner.
"Even though people believe in their rational mind that women should be allowed to determine their own families, this subconscious, two-parent, two-child family is pervasive," health law attorney Ariel Tazkargy told Vice. "Doctors don't want to permanently alter someone, but they do it all the time for other procedures, so what is it about women and birth?"
Cleavage is prevalent in advertisements and media, but women breastfeeding their children in public are still told to cover up.
If a woman's breasts are exposed in a sexualised or seductive way, it's acceptable. If a woman is feeding her baby, however, some consider it inappropriate.
Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel wrote about how she had experienced this double standard in an Instagram post picturing her infant son.
"Many women today are shamed for breastfeeding in public, or even kicked out of public places for feeding their children," she wrote in the 2016 post. "I have been made to feel the need to cover up and somewhat shy to feed my baby in public places but strangely feel nothing for the topless editorials I've done in the name of art..? The world has been desensitized to the sexualization of the breast and to violence on tv...why should it be different when it comes to breastfeeding? Breastfeeding is not sexual it's natural. Those who feel it is wrong to feed your child in public need to get educated on the benefits breastfeeding has on mother and child and in [turn] on society as a whole."
Stories continue to emerge about this attitude towards breastfeeding women. In 2019, a passenger who was breastfeeding her child on a KLM flight from San Francisco said a flight attendant asked her to cover up to be "respectful" to others around her. That same year, a mom in Texas said she was told to stop breastfeeding at a public pool.
"Dad bods" are considered attractive, but women are expected to lose baby weight after giving birth.
A viral 2015 article on The Odyssey Online called "Why Girls Love The Dad Bod" made the term mainstream by explaining that "While we all love a sculpted guy, there is just something about the dad bod that makes boys seem more human, natural, and attractive." Now there are "dad bod" fanny packs and "Dad Bods and Dogs" calendars celebrating the body type.
Women, however, are expected to "snap back into shape" after having a baby, as Katherine Heigl (pictured) put it after having her son Joshua Jr. Celebrities and fitness bloggers alike have spoken out about the pressure to lose baby weight.
"I have to keep reminding myself that it took nine months to grow Mia, so it's probably going to take at least the same amount of time for my body to recover," fitness blogger Emily Skye wrote on Instagram.
Men are disproportionately praised for taking care of their children, whereas women are expected to be caregivers.
A 1998 study in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that fathers reported more praise than mothers for their involvement in parenting, and mothers were more often praised for their ability to successfully combine work and family.
This double standard remains in place today: A woman who takes care of her kids is simply doing what is expected of her, but a man who takes care of his kids is an exceptional, involved father.
In 2018, actress Jenny Mollen addressed this double standard in regard to her husband, Jason Biggs.
"People often ask me if I feel lucky that @biggsjason is such an involved dad and the answer is, no. I expect him to be a good father! That's why I had kids with him," she wrote on Instagram. "Nobody would ever say to a man, 'wow, you are so lucky your wife feeds and bathes your children.' For women, it's expected to love and protect and show up for soccer practice. For men, an hour or two alone with the kids on a weekend somehow warrants a trophy. (Or at least a World's Greatest Dad mug.) This double standard is antiquated and insulting. If your partner isn't hands on, he shouldn't have hands."
Childcare responsibilities still widely fall on women — millions of women left the workforce after childcare centers and schools closed due to the pandemic.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.5 million women had left the workforce a year into the coronavirus pandemic compared to 1.8 million men. Unemployment rates are also higher among women of color compared to those among white women, according to a 2022 report by the National Women's Law Center.
In 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris called the number of women leaving the workforce a "national emergency."
The massive discrepancy is a testament to the fact that women are still largely responsible for childcare.
"Women tend to be more in the essential workers positions, and those are the ones that often cannot be done from home. They need to go out," said Liz Elting, founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, in an interview with Business Insider's Yelena Dzhanova. Elting's foundation launched a multi-million dollar fund for pandemic relief.
"Or their positions have been eliminated, in which they're not earning money, which is a problem. If they are able to work from home, they have kids to take care of with quarantining and home-schooling going on, and the work is basically falling on women," Elting said. "So it's a very difficult time for women, whether they do need to go out and risk their lives to take care of their families or if they're at home earning a living and trying to take care of their family."
Any parenting decision a woman makes is subject to "mom shaming."
A 2017 study conducted by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health from the University of Michigan surveyed 475 mothers with at least one child under the age of 5 years old and found that six out of 10 moms reported that they had been shamed for their parenting choices. It's even causing some mothers to develop "maternal anxiety," meaning that they constantly question themselves and the decisions they make regarding their kids.
"The blaming of mothers is intimately connected to cultural anxieties around the changing social roles of women," Natalie Boero writes in a chapter of "The Fat Studies Reader" about how mothers are often blamed for the "epidemic of childhood obesity."
Women pay more for the same everyday items because of the "pink tax."
The "pink tax" refers to how products for women, like razors in "feminine" colors, are often pricier than the men's equivalent.
From everyday items like deodorant and clothing to services such as haircuts and dry-cleaning, to mortgages and car insurance, women are paying more than men for necessities.
There's also the "tampon tax" — tax on "non-luxury necessities," such as tampons.
"A tax on periods is wrong," tennis star Serena Williams told The New York Times while working with menstrual product company LOLA in 2019. "Telling half of the population that their needs aren't important is wrong."
Women may be more likely to die of a heart attack if they have a male doctor.
Women who have heart attacks are more likely to die if their emergency room doctor is male, but more likely to live if their doctor is female, according to a 2018 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Male doctors with more female colleagues also gave more effective treatment to female patients.
The study couldn't determine the reason for this gap, but one key takeaway was that women and men have different heart attack symptoms.
Read the original article on Insider