Still, decisions are made for women rather than by them. Because of This, We Are Suffering


Still, decisions are made for women rather than by them. Because of This, We Are Suffering


A pattern can be seen when you examine the headline-grabbing stories of recent months: a widespread pandemic that is disproportionately eradicating women's means of subsistence. a Taliban regime that denies fundamental liberties to women and girls. The Russian military intentionally commits rape as a form of warfare. The face of pain is still so frequently a woman in this string of global crises, while the face of power is still most frequently a man.

Take a look at what is going on right now in our own nation. Many of us are preparing for the news that Roe v. Wade has been reversed by the Supreme Court, stripping women of control over their bodies and futures.

Take into account the wider power structure as well. Yes, the Supreme Court recently made progress toward gender equality. But regardless of gender, every justice currently sitting on the bench—indeed, every justice who has ever done so—was chosen by a male president and confirmed by a Senate that was at least 75% male. These presidents, lawmakers, and justices have all made outstanding contributions to society. However, they have never truly represented the variety of the nation they served. This is not a country where women or people of color now have an equal voice, even if I believed that the government did not have a say in such a highly personal matter (which I do not).

One of many instances of the breakdown that takes place when judgments are made for women rather than by them is the leaked court opinion. Basic childcare is still difficult to acquire and expensive in the United States. Compared to white mothers, black women have a three times higher risk of dying during giving birth. We are the only developed nation without any type of paid leave guarantee.

I have seen variations of this injustice all around the world in my work as a global advocate for women and girls. The attack against women's power can occasionally be plain to see, as it is right now in Afghanistan and with the violence in Ukraine. Other times, it’s difficult to notice, like in the myriad little decisions that render women disproportionately vulnerable to the economic shock of the pandemic or the bias and inertia that keeps political representation mainly male.

In either case, I have repeatedly learned the same lesson: Suffering too has a face when the face of power is unchanged. Additionally, laws that limit women and girls ultimately hurt everyone. Women's abilities and contributions are taken from the world when women's authority and influence are restricted. In both subtle and profound ways, her absence is felt by her family, community, and nation.

Today, I support initiatives and grantees working on a variety of topics through my philanthropic efforts, including women's economic opportunities in the United States and abroad as well as access to healthcare and contraceptives in low- and middle-income countries. But throughout the course of my career in charity, I've come to realize that by concentrating solely on one problem at a time, it's hard to end long-standing patterns of injustice. I make related investments that are intended to add up to more than the sum of their individual components. In order to give more women from all backgrounds the opportunity to make decisions, manage resources, and influence policies and viewpoints, they aim to change the very nature of power.

Instead of fighting each of the several branches that inequality has sprouted, an agenda to guarantee women's power and influence targets injustice at its source. This all-encompassing strategy is the only way to stop the series of crises that keep women from catching up.

Top-down and bottom-up approaches are required for this endeavor. We must make an effort to promote various groups of women to leadership roles not only in the government but also in the business world, the media, and global health. Supporting the grassroots movements of women who are banding together to demand reforms from the formal structures of power that have kept them out is also necessary.

It also entails shutting off the sexist myths and customs that make it more difficult for women to be viewed as truly equal or deserving of a voice in the choices that affect our world. We can encourage men and women to begin visualizing a more inclusive range of faces when they conjure an image of power and assist them to start to expect more from those who have it by elevating a varied collection of voices and stories that challenge outdated prejudices and understandings.

Women, families, and our nation would all take a significant step backward if the Supreme Court reversed Roe. However, I also think that no single legal ruling can ever guarantee or disprove equality. In the long run, the population that our government represents will determine whether or not our society lives up to its democratic promise.

Millions of individuals who were shocked by the decision's release are currently recommitting to the struggle for a better, more equal future. Women's reproductive rights will not just be preserved in that future; the entire system that makes women's lives so insecure will also be destroyed. It is a future in which women's views are acknowledged and heard at all levels of society, including in their homes and places of employment, legislatures and executive offices, and even in the privacy of a clinic or doctor's office.

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