Women's Rights in Indianapolis: Challenges and Solutions

Women in Indianapolis are confronted with a range of difficulties when it comes to their rights, from issues related to work, care delivery, violence against women, and leadership. Women's health is not only about the Roe v Wade case, but it goes beyond that. Women are constantly facing obstacles, including when it comes to daily primary care. Not only do women experience the loss of their bodily right to choose, but there are also significant barriers that women face every day in the health system.

Gender bias continues to create immense obstacles for many women. Current struggles include guaranteeing equal economic opportunities, educational equity, and an end to gender-based violence. Indiana was the first state to pass sweeping new restrictions on abortion after the U. S.

Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to the procedure in June. Cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death among women, tend to occur and progress differently in women than in men. Women in the wealthiest 1% of income distribution have a life expectancy 10 years longer than women in the poorest 1%, a difference that equates to the health impact of having smoked a lifetime. In the workplace, labor laws and policies that exclude women from certain work sectors and allow them to be forced to leave the workplace when they become pregnant or return to work after having a baby cause persistent disparities in women's income, wealth, and economic security. According to an article published by Dana Alloy, a researcher and educator in women's and menstrual health, published in The HELM, “94 percent of the more than 1,400 women failed a rudimentary IQ questionnaire on women's health” while another INTIMINA survey revealed that one in four women could not correctly identify the vagina. Inadequate education, research, and treatment are just one of the many immense barriers women face in the health care system.

Many women experience language or cultural barriers with their primary care providers or don't trust them or health care in general. For example, doctors distribute contraceptives such as candy to young women to suppress the natural processes of menstruation. Despite the tremendous progress achieved in the fight for gender equality, women continue to confront violence, discrimination and institutional barriers that prevent equal participation in society. It also adds to the changing and often chaotic mosaic of abortion norms across the country as conservative legislatures push for stricter restrictions and abortion rights groups challenge them in court. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health organizations have relied heavily on women who represent nearly four out of five essential health workers. Through litigation, promotion, and public education, the ACLU Women's Rights Project promotes systemic change and reform in institutions that perpetuate discrimination against women focusing their work on areas such as employment, violence against women, and education.

In late August before the Monroe County Circuit Court a coalition represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit against members of the Indiana Medical Licensing Board and other county officials. Although women are expected to see many specialized doctors throughout their lives it is critical that they have a primary care doctor who can guide them through everyday changes and needs; however most primary care doctors are not trained in women's specific health needs and differences. Data recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that health care spending is higher for women than for men especially when they are younger. A look back at history shows that women have made great strides in the fight for equality including women's suffrage and advances in equal opportunities in the workplace and education. To ensure that these advances are maintained it is important for individuals and organizations alike to continue advocating for gender equality.

Mable Aliotta
Mable Aliotta

Lifelong twitter practitioner. Professional pop culture maven. Award-winning food expert. Avid tv junkie. Devoted travel scholar.