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Women’s History Month: We’ve Come So Far, We Have So Far to Go

Emily Carter,
Legal Assistant,
Women's Rights Project, ACLU
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March 1, 2013

Today is March 1st – the start of Women’s History Month, which is dedicated to honoring women throughout history who have taken part in the movement to advance women’s rights. Over the years, women have fought tirelessly against discrimination to break down the social and economic barriers to gender equality.

While this month is a time to celebrate and reflect, it is also important to recognize that much work remains to be done. In 2013, women are still not treated equally in the workplace or in society. It has been nearly two decades since the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 was enacted, yet violence against women remains a grave threat. It has been 35 years since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was enacted, yet pregnant women are still being pushed out of the workplace by their employers. It has been 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, yet the gender pay gap still exists.

The fight must continue and WRP is at the forefront of these battles every day:

  • In our effort to combat the pervasive gender pay gap, in conjunction with our colleagues in the ACLU Washington Legislative Office (WLO), we are urging legislators to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which updates the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The Paycheck Fairness Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who share wage information or question wage practices, ensures compensation for victims of discrimination, and strengthens the remedies for those who have been injured by discrimination.
  • As part of our efforts to combat employment discrimination, WRP and the ACLU of Ohio recently filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a single mother who was wrongfully terminated by her employer when she became pregnant.
  • As we work to end violence against women, WRP will be attending the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women this month. We have submitted a statement to the Commission urging the federal government to apply human rights standards in its policies and practices regarding domestic violence in the United States.

Clearly, there is much to be done. At the same time, there is reason to celebrate. Like the Pentagon’s recent move to rescind its 1994 combat exclusion policy that barred women from serving in ground combat.

WRP and WLO will be blogging all month to celebrate women’s rights victories and to highlight the work that we’re doing in the courts, in the states, and in Congress. This month, we thank everyone who has been and continues to be a part of this historic movement. But we also need your help—we ask you to get involved in the efforts to end discrimination against women. Write to your Members of Congress about the Paycheck Fairness Act. Keep an eye on our website. Connect with the ACLU on Twitter and Facebook. Please join us in celebrating women’s history and take action now for women’s rights.

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