Some people may ask why we need so many organizations promoting women's rights and supporting women-related issues. Isn't it the 21st century? Haven't we fixed all the gender-related problems that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers faced?
The simple answer is: no.
While progress has been made over the past few decades (suffrage was granted not even a century ago, so I can't say centuries), there are still discrepancies between the treatment and protection men and women receive under both social rules and legislation.
That is why I am starting a series on this blog that highlights the reasons why women's organizations, like A Woman's Bridge, are still very much needed.
I'll kick this off with the topic of health care. By this point, someone would have to be living on the moon in order to avoid hearing about health care reform. And a New York Times article that was written by Denise Grady on March 29, 2010 points out some interesting (and surprising) information about the newly passed legislation:
Being a woman was a pre-existing condition.
Grady writes, "Until now, it has been perfectly legal in most states for companies selling individual health policies - for people who do not have group coverage through employers - to engage in 'gender rating,' that is, charging women more than men for the same coverage, even for policies that do not include maternity care. The rationale was that women used the health care system more than men. But some companies charged women who did not smoke more than men who did, even though smokers have more risks."
The result? Women often wound up paying hundreds more than their male counterparts, and only because of their gender.
But the new law has changed that, making this piece of legislation another positive change in gender equality.
The fact that until last month, women often had to pay more than men for health insurance is an example of why we do this - why we work to make sure that every woman has a chance to succeed.
This opens up a much larger topic concerning women and finance, which not only will be a future post, but is also a main focus of A Woman's Bridge. AWBF is partnering with ARCH in order to create a financial literacy program. It's in the planning stages, but promises to be a very exciting opportunity.