The American Woman:

From the 19th Amendment to
the 21st Century

A website by Gabrielle Calise

From getting
the right to vote

To gaining
more control over
our bodies and careers,

Women have come
so far in America.

We've gone
more places,
from higher office

All the way to outer space.

there is
still so
much left to do.

Let's get started.

What issue
do you want
to learn about?

Let's talk money

Economic issues that women face today

Quiz time: The wage gap is a myth -- true or false?

Answer: False

The bad news: According to the US Department of Commerce, the average woman made $0.79 for every dollar a man earned in 2014.

The good news: the gap is smaller for young women, who earn 93% of the average hourly wage of men the same age, according to the Pew Research Center.

How do you think the wage gap changes as women age?

Answer: As women get older, the wage gap actually gets worse.

Even if ladies make the same amount as their male counterparts early in their careers, there's something called the motherhood penalty that can make things harder for them later in life.

University of Massachusetts sociologist Michelle Budig found that on average, men make 6% more when they had children, and women made 4% less for EACH child that they had.

True or false – the United States is the only industrialized country that doesn’t have paid maternity or family leave.

Answer: True

The Family and Medical Leave Act created up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave for things like caring for a sick family member or the birth of a baby. But many families can't afford to take unpaid leave.

There is no guaranteed paid family leave, unless your employer grants it or you live in California, Rhode Island or New Jersey, which offer state-mandated paid leave. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 13 percent of employers offer paid maternity leave.

This is a problem because caregiving typically falls on women. However, 40 percent of women are breadwinners for their families, and 70 percent of mothers work outside the home.

Ok, so why is the wage gap happening?

It is estimated that the Gender Gap will take 118 years to close worldwide. So what can you do to help?

Support resources that teach women how to negotiate.

Tell Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Support campaigns for paid family leave

Violence Against Women

Domestic abuse is defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Unfortunately, it's a huge problem in America.

Types of abuse

Domestic abuse isn't just hitting a partner. It can manifest in several different ways, and each can be serious. Click on each category below to learn about the different forms of abuse.

Digital Abuse

Financial Abuse

Emotional Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Physical Abuse

Source: The National Domestic Hotline. If you are experiencing abuse, please call The National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

How to help women experiencing domestic abuse

Reach out

If you suspect that someone is in an abusive relationship, please intervene. Don't know how? published several awesome guides to help you reach out, whether you're concerned about a friend, parent or even a stranger.

Pass along your old phone

Having access to a cell phone can help domestic abuse survivors escape from abusive situations and rebuild their lives. Donate your old cell phone, charger or phone batteries to HopeLine by Verizon,a charity that refurbishes old phones and gives them to domestic abuse survivors.

Donate other goods

Bring gift cards, hygiene items and clothes to women’s shelters. There's always a need for these kinds of items, and they go fast!

Don't have a ton of time or resources to give? Set the National Domestic Violence Hotline as your charity of choice for Amazon Smile. With every purchase you make, Amazon will donate 0.5% to the organization.

Sexual assault is a huge issue in America.

1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted during their college years, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. More often than not, the offender is someone that the survivor knew

How can you fight against sexual assault?

Look out for others

Don't be a bystander. If you see another person who looks like they are at risk, step in to help them. There's even training courses that can teach you how to do this, like Hollaback! Intervention Training.

Learn how to defend yourself

Females can take RAD Training and learn self defense skills. To find a class near you, check out the program locator.

Reproductive rights

According to a 10-year survey by the Pew Research Center, 56% percent of Americans think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

What do you think?

Why does it matter if abortions are legal?

The rate of abortions is similar in countries where abortion is legal and illegal – meaning that if safe abortions aren’t available, women will get them anyway.

According to a global study by the World Health Organization, about 20 million abortions that would be considered unsafe were performed anyway. 67,000 women die as a result of complications from this procedure.

Get involved

Become a clinic escort.

Protesters often gather outside of abortion clinics to chant and scream at women who are going inside. Clinic escorts guide patients inside the building and shield them from harassment. To learn more about becoming a clinic escort, check out this guide from NY Magazine.

Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Volunteer with Planned Parenthood to bring education and health services to women. Click here to find opportunities in your state.

College students can join Planned Parenthood Generation Action. This program raises awareness about reproductive rights and sexual health. To see what your campus offers, go here. To start your own chapter, contact Planned Parenthood.

Contact your elected officials

All Above All is an organization that seeks to overturn the Hyde Amendment and other abortion restrictions. The group encourages people to email congresspeople and ask them to lift government restrictions on abortion access. Find your elected official, learn about the issues, and send an email here.

What happens if abortion is illegal?

The bad news

The rate of abortions is similar in countries where abortion is legal and illegal – meaning that if safe abortions aren’t available, women will get them anyway.

According to a global study by the World Health Organization, about 20 million abortions that would be considered unsafe were performed anyway. 67,000 women die as a result of complications from this procedure.

The good news

There's a way to reduce the number of abortions without making it illegal and forcing women to get risky clandestine procedures.

Here's how you can help

Support contraceptive access and family planning centers

Publicly-funded family planning services are crucial in providing resources for women -- both the ladies that want families and those who don't. According to the Guttmacher Institute, these facilities helped women avoid two million unintended pregnancies. The Institute estimates that those pregnancies would have resulted in 900,000 unplanned births and nearly 700,000 abortions.

Title X is the US Government's program that funds confidential, low-cost family planning services

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, funding for the U.S. Government's Title X is decreasing. It's 61% lower today than it was in 1980.

To help, you can support family planning services.

You can also reach out to your elected officials and let them know that defunding family planning centers is harmful to the women that depend on them. Locate your representatives here.

You can also support comprehensive, fact-based sex education

How does this help?

More than 47 percent of high school students say they've had sex, according to a 2011 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And only 60% of the students surveyed said they used a condom during their last sexual encounter!

Here's the insane part -- only 22 states mandate sex and HIV education, and only 13 require that sex ed is medically accurate.

Studies show that abstinence-only education is not effective, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

The solution: we need to make sexual and reproductive health more accessible to adolescents.

About this website

The American Woman was created to document some of the issues that frustrate many women in our country today. We enjoy so many more freedoms than women did in the past, not to mention women today that are oppressed in other parts of the world, but there are still so many areas for improvement. Not only does the site aim to educate people about the issues women still face today -- I hope it motivates you to take action!

Photo credit

Every photograph on this site is under the Creative Commons license. Here is where you can find the photographer/organization that each photo came from.