WASHINGTON (ViaNews) – With a part of a country that’s angry and looking for change, this past year was one of protest. As the year went on, dissatisfaction with the current administration and the status quo escalated like a volcano ready to erupt. Formerly ignored Americans of every sex, age, and race continue to come forward and demand to be heard and women are leading the charge.
This past year has shown women are no longer willing to quietly accept the inequalities of American society and are going to do something about it. As sexual assault on college campuses is allegedly at an all-time high, women continue to be consistently underpaid for their work and living in a country where the President allegedly continues to demean women, American women might have a lot to be angry about.
2018 might go down in the history books as the year American women finally stood up and said they have had enough. Unlike other times in our history, everyone is listening, and justice against the accused has been swift and guillotine-sharp.
The past few months have seen the end of careers of previously untouchable magnates. Journalist Matt Lauer was terminated by NBC after multiple women came forward about his extremely inappropriate workplace behavior. Comedian Louis C.K. had his upcoming movie, TV series and other planned performances canceled after he admitted to numerous acts of sexual misconduct. House of Cards, the immensely popular Netflix show, had production canceled after allegations that Kevin Spacey made sexual advances toward a 14-year-old boy.
Wendy Zajack, Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications at Georgetown University told ViaNews she believes this most recent movement was energized by the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. “Finally, someone who was known to be engaging in horrible behavior towards women was punished,” she said. What brought about Weinstein’s fall was the outpouring of stories that became public on various forms of social media. “The ability for women to share with each other has made a big impact,” Zajack said.
Alexandra Ranieri-Deniken, a licensed Psychologist, and Psy.D., said in an interview for ViaNews that as more women come forward with accusations, the dialogue will continue. “There’s going to be a lot more fallout to come before this gets any better,” she said. Ranieri-Deniken was one of over 500,000 women who marched on Washington D.C. the day after Trump’s inauguration. Amidst a sea of pink hats and sign-wielding chanting women, there was a pervasive feeling in the crowd of strength in numbers. Zajack believes it is both the marches and the #metoo campaign that blew up social media that has emboldened women to speak out about their experiences and to find support.
“We have reached critical mass as a society,” said Ranieri-Deniken, citing the sociodynamic theory that a certain percentage of people must adopt a new social system before a movement can sustain itself and continue to grow. Studies have shown the critical mass percentage of a group needs to be 20-30% female before that tipping point is reached. When Weinstein was ousted, the percentage of female producers was at 25%, as reported by Time magazine.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics, President Obama’s administration was 35% female at the maximum level of his second term and 30% at his first. Trump’s percentage of women in high ranking positions is currently at 17. That is a number that does not bode well for reforms that could help women and minorities reach a status of equilibrium anytime soon.
What has also set a fire under the 2017 women’s movement is the #metoo campaign that has swept the world and is held largely responsible for Weinstein’s tumultuous fall from power. From Sweden to India, members of the film industry shared their stories of inexcusable encounters, sexual harassment, coercion, and rape.
So why does it seem that U.S. politicians are not receiving the same career-lethal blows as movie moguls and CEOs? Zajack believes these are two very separate entities. “Companies have to manage brand reputation and shareholders, that can push them into action,” she said. “Political figures have a different standard – electability.”
On the day of the Women’s March, John Carman, Freeholder for District #3 of Atlantic County, NJ, posted, “Will the Women’s March be over in time for them to cook dinner?” to social media. Many of the County residents, including Ashleigh Bennett, were outraged. So Bennett got the ultimate revenge – she ran against Carman and took his seat in this past November’s election.
Bennett’s not the only one who took a stand on the November 7, 2017, elections. Danica Roem became the first transgender woman to win a seat in the Virginia state legislature. She beat out Republican Robert G. Marshall, the self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” and author of the failed controversial Bathroom Bill.
“Danica Roem’s historic victory is a clear warning to anti-equality lawmakers across the country that the days of attacking LGBTQ people to scare up votes are over,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement printed in U.S. News and World Report.
2017 also brought Wonder Woman, starring Gal Godot and directed by Patty Jenkins grossed over $800 million worldwide. This was the first time a woman directed a big budget superhero movie and gave DC Comics a much needed shot in the arm against Marvel, whose movies historically have been both better rated and higher grossing.
Fortune magazine reported in June that more women are CEOS in 2017 since they started tracking this data in 1955. Although women still only make up 6.4% of the list, it is up from 21 women last year to 32. This year also marks the first time a Latina CEO made the list when Geisha Williams became the corporate leader at PG&E.
All women, not just Americans, still have a long battle ahead of them in their search for equality. While the momentum continues to escalate, one voice at a time, women are celebrating their successes and are looking for more. With midterm elections coming next year, expect to see more women and minorities challenge the status quo like never before. Women are demanding a fair playing field, and as their numbers increase in the upper echelons of every field, not just politics, our social climate is going to change dramatically. This is how cultural revolution begins.