Progress for Oregon women

My mother is my ultimate role model.

I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. My parents divorced when I was five years old, and although my father has always been part of my life and supportive of my choices, living with my mother was a constant struggle. Financially, we were stretched to buy groceries and event spent a few years living on food stamps.

Though my mother struggled to give me the life she believed I deserved, I admire her strength and ability to always fight for her rights as a woman. Without a man around the house, my mother fixed appliances herself, mowed the lawn, handled finances and always expressed her love for my siblings and me. To me, she is a superhero.

While my mother is an incredible woman in every sense, I also know that she faced very real, systematic discrimination that made it harder for her to provide me with the life she wanted for me. My mother worked as a dental assistant, an occupation that is more than 98 percent female, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the average weekly earnings for female-dominated occupations are just 80 percent of the wages earned in male-dominated occupations requiring the same level of education.

I believe that no human being should go to bed worrying about whether they can put food on the table for themselves or their children after working hours of difficult labor. I admire my mother and hope to embody her strength and intelligence, but I hope I do not struggle in the way she did.

I am involved in the campaign for Measure 89 because I believe every woman deserves equal opportunities.
After nearly a century of women possessing the right to vote, I would hope the rights I deserve would be guaranteed by the the state of Oregon. However, as an Oregonian woman, my rights still lie in the clouds. Currently, there is nothing in the Oregon constitution that prohibits sex discrimination.

Voters have the opportunity in this election to guarantee that our rights as women are not ambiguous. Ballot Measure 89 “Amends the Constitution: State/political subdivision shall not deny or abridge equality of rights on account of sex.” It would explicitly ensure equal rights for women in the Oregon constitution.

It is profoundly sad that women must face a roadblock on the path to pursue their dreams. Women fighting employment and wage discrimination will now have the constitution behind them.

Currently, there is nothing in the Oregon constitution protecting women at all. The protection we have as women is the result of specific laws as well as court decisions, which can be changed and overturned. With the passage of measure 89, Oregon courts and legislature will understand that sex discrimination is prohibited.

The campaign literature from states that Measure 89, “Will establish as state policy that the Oregon government enforce the laws in a way that ensures equal treatment. Will expressly provide for equality in the Constitution where only case law now exists. Will eliminate the loophole for biological differences justifying differential treatment. Will prevent women’s rights from ever rolling back if the temperament on the court ever changes.”

I encourage every person to consider these factors and the full weight of Measure 89. This is a bipartisan issue. Democrats and Republicans alike support this measure. Please support Oregonian women. Equality should not be subject to political trends. Are we truly the land of the free with half our citizens lacking constitutional rights?

I cannot fathom a counterargument. Please vote YES on Measure 89 on Nov. 4 and support women.