Browsing Tag

women’s rights

Why I March: Looking Ahead to the Women’s March on Washington

It’s the morning after the election and I can’t open my eyes and face the truth:  Donald Trump won the electoral college and will be our new president.  So I continue to sleep.  For the next week, I walk around bleary eyed, still not quite believing that, not only did we not elect our first female president, but also we elected a man with a complete lack of respect for women, an admitted serial sexual assaulter.  I feel powerless, and hopeless, and helpless.  I can’t bear to watch Clinton’s concession speech.  It’s too painful. (Just between you and me, I only just watched Clinton’s concession speech today.  And yes, I still became emotional.)

Then, about ten days after the election, something occurs to me:  I simply cannot allow myself to accept President-Elect Trump as the new normal.  I realize I cannot avoid news for the next four years.  I cannot check out and bury myself in a bubble-like cocoon.  Instead, I know that I must do what we women have had to do periodically since the beginning of the United States of America:  acknowledge a setback of monumental proportions, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and forge ahead for the fight of a lifetime.  In other words, I forced my eyes to open wide, kind of like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange, and willed them to gaze purposefully into the future.

But now what?  Die-hard Clinton supporters like myself were not only experiencing raw emotions–fear, anxiety, anger, profound sadness–in the days following the political upset to end all upsets, but also the loss of an underpinning.  For we had all known deep down that victory would mean an easier path forward for so many progressive goals.  So, we put our collective energy into electing Hillary.  Now that we had lost that critical battle, what could be done to make the best of a disastrous situation?  Well, it turns out that there have been and will be so many things to be done–even before Trump is sworn in and certainly afterwards.

I personally donated money to an array of newly vulnerable progressive organizations, like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, Emily’s List and the National Organization of Women, Trevor Project and Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America/Everytown and more.

I subscribed to publications that advance honest-to-goodness journalism and investigative reporting, like the New York Times and the Washington Post.

I signed many petitions:  to stop Steve Bannon, to audit the vote, to protest Trump’s appointments, to investigate Russia’s hacking of our election.

I am boycotting NBC for its decision to air another season of The Celebrity Apprentice, and businesses that sell Trump products.

I wrote to all of the electors, imploring them to vote their conscience, and not for Donald Trump, on December 19th.

I didn’t participate in any of the protests against hatred, but cheered on my friends and those who did.

I continued writing my progressive feminist blog and shared noteworthy action items on my Facebook page.

I joined local organizations that promise to band together to fight against Trump’s threatened policies.

Women’s March: The Nuts & Bolts

Somehow, the one thing that has made me feel the best in the face of a seemingly insurmountable setback, was registering for the Women’s March on Washington and helping organize volunteers for what is shaping up to be a massive undertaking.  After some hiccoughs early on, we now know some basic truths about this prospectively historic march:

  • The march has been endorsed by a wide range of organizations, including 1199 SEIU, American Indian Movement, Amnesty International, Black Girls Rock, Black Women’s Roundtable, Brown Boi Project, Center for Popular Democracy, CHIRLA, Define American, ERA Coalition,Everything Girls Love, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Feminist Majority Foundation, Life Camp Inc., MADFree, MomsRising, Mothers of The Movement, MPower Change, Muslim Women’s Alliance, NAACP New York State Conference, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Newspaper Publishers Associations,National Organization for Women (NOW), One Billion Rising, Trayvon Martin Foundation, The Gathering for Justice, The National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, United We Dream.  (Martin Luther King, Jr.’s youngest child, Bernice King, who was only five years old when her father was assassinated, has been supportive as well, according to organizers.)
  • The mission of the March is to advance the cause of justice and equality for all American women, regardless of race, religion, sexual identity, gender expression, socioeconomic status, immigration status, age, or disability.
  • Principles of Kingian non-violence pervade the spirit of the march, which is a peaceful testament to our collective concern for our future, and each other, under the Trump administration.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us. –Women’s March “Mission & Vision”


#WhyIMarch is an ongoing hashtag on Twitter and I have enjoyed reading the reasons my fellow marchers give for choosing to participate.  At the center of the reason why I am not only marching, but pouring my heart and soul into this march, is that it advances women’s interests as its primary goal and purpose.  It is this march that is dedicated to the cause of justice and equality for all women.  It is this march that I have high hopes will go down in history with some of the greatest political rallies in American history.  It is this march that makes me feel like so many voices will come together and shout loud and clear that while we now know that many Americans were fine with electing a known misogynist to the highest office in the land, the rest of us most certainly are not fine with it.  At all.

So why do I more specifically plan to march on January 21st?  Here are some of the most powerful reasons #WhyIMarch:

  • To honor those female warriors before me–the suffragettes, women’s libbers like my now-deceased aunts, trailblazers like Hillary Clinton–and give voice to their concerns in a new era.
  • To join with likeminded, kindred spirits, and feel the power and sense of community when we merge together for a single purpose.
  • To use my voice to make an impact beyond sitting at my computer keyboard.
  • To forcefully and publicly declare that it is wrong and un-American to be sexist or misogynistic, regardless of one’s station in life, wealth, or fame.
  • To speak on behalf of those who are silenced and marginalized, or are too ill or elderly or poor to travel and attend the march themselves.
  • To acknowledge publicly that we live in a highly paternalistic, inherently sexist, and often misogynistic society, even in 2017.
  • To fight for the rights of my daughter (and her daughters) to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to not be a second class citizen in the country I hold dear.
  • To make clear that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all.
  • To fight for the Equal Rights Amendment, which failed to be ratified in the 1970s due to anti-woman sentiment, and continues to fail to be ratified by the necessary number of states.
  • To show my understanding that there is (to quote Hillary Clinton’s concession speech) “still work to do” and passionately assert that we will not rest until we ensure that women have the right to control our own bodies, that with hard work and diligence we can break the glass ceilings of our choosing, that we will not tolerate sexual harassment, bullying, and assault by strangers and acquaintances alike, either in person or online, and that working women deserve the same opportunities and pay as our male counterparts.
  • Because I agree wholeheartedly with Hillary when she said on November 9, 2016, “Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth” the effort.  I never will.  And neither should you.  Let’s March, Ladies!

For more information on the Women’s March, including how to register (not required but helpful for planning purposes) or to make a donation, click here.  The Women’s March is what we make it.  Let’s make it an epic turning point for women’s rights in this country.

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Why I Trust Hillary (& Why All Women/Moms Should Too)


 The media keeps reporting polls that show Hillary Clinton has a
trustworthiness problem. I personally don’t get this. To me, trustworthiness in a candidate means that if elected he or she will follow through and keep as many campaign promises as possible. I think that voters may be confusing trustworthiness with transparency. Yes, some politicians—especially those who have been burned for being frank and blunt—may tend to keep things closer to the vest. Hillary Clinton in particular has been in public spotlight at least since 1992 when her husband ran for the presidency. A trailblazer on many levels, she was often scrutinized in a particularly harsh and unfair light and many people hated her for rebelling against the status quo while First Lady. As a result, it really isn’t so surprising that she has strived to keep an element of privacy in her life, as difficult as that may be. Now this has prompted charges that she is not as transparent as people would like. I would argue, however, that when it comes to her trustworthiness to serve the American public, superficial transparency is largely beside the point. Why? Again, what I look for in a candidate for president is whether he or she will strive to fulfill his/her promises and get things accomplished. In this sense of the word, there can be no question but that Hillary is “trustworthy.
Women and moms should examine Clinton in this light when deciding whether to vote for her and, also, must scrutinize her trustworthiness as compared to her opponent, Donald Trump. In other words, how consistent has Clinton been over the years in making promises to get things done and then at least striving to get those things accomplished? How consistent have her positions on policy stayed over her years in the public spotlight? Is she more trustworthy than Donald Trump when it comes to many, many issues of import to women and moms? I think it is crystal clear that she is more worthy of women/moms’ trust, and here are six reasons why:

1. Women/Moms Should Trust Hillary More Than Trump to Keep Us All Safe

Hillary Clinton knows a great deal about foreign affairs and is respected at home and abroad for her work as Secretary of State under the Obama administration. She has made crucial decisions under great pressure and our country stayed safe during her tenure. Among her successes as our Secretary of State, Clinton restored our reputation in the world after George W. Bush’s presidency, championed the rights of women and girls around the globe, negotiated the toughest sanctions ever against Iran, negotiated a cease fire between Hamas and Israel, stood up for worldwide LGBT rights, reinvigorated American diplomacy with Asia, and took on the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Clinton’s stated policies on national security are designed with the primary goal of keeping us all safe.

 On the other hand, Donald Trump has no experience in foreign affairs. He has shown himself to not have a firm grasp on the details of foreign policy, has unnecessarily inflamed our relations with countries such as Mexico, and has criticized our nation’s able generals. He lacks the steady judgment and temperament necessary to be commander in chief over the U.S. and the free world. Don’t believe me? Well, then take it from the GOP experts, such as
Michael Hayden (former CIA director under George W. Bush), who have said the same thing, despite the political ramifications. Indeed, 50 GOP national security officials signed on to a damning letter stating that Trump would be “the most reckless president in American history.” Trump’s statements about getting rid of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance of nations that helps us avoid nuclear war, are also very troubling. Former Special Forces and CIA Operations Officer Michael Vickers, former GOP Senator Larry Pressler, Bush Administration vets John Stubbs and Ricardo Reyes, GOP foreign policy advisor Brent Scowcroft, and Bush Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, have all said that it is Hillary Clinton, hands down, who will be more likely to keep us safe in a dangerous world.

 2. Women/Moms Should Trust Hillary More Than Trump to Fight for Equal Rights for All Americans, Including Women

Hillary Clinton has been fighting for the rights of women and minorities her entire adult life. She believes that women should make an equal amount of money as do men for the same job. She went to a conference in China 21 years ago, and boldly proclaimed that women’s rights are human rights. She has fought for a woman’s right to choose throughout her years in public service. Hillary believes that we are a great country that will become greater still if we treat all of our citizenry equally.

 Donald Trump? He has become the
darling of white supremacists, a fact that he was very slow to acknowledge or denounce. He demeans women at every turn and has said creepy, offensive things even about his own daughter. He has also said racist things about Muslims, Mexicans, an American judge, and our own President. In fact, here are 13 prime examples of Trump being racist.  

3. Women/Moms Should Trust Hillary More Than Trump to Help the Sick, Disabled, and Downtrodden in Our Society

In the early 1970s, Hillary Clinton sought to ferret out segregation and discrimination against African American schoolchildren by posing as a housewife. She fought for the laws that now require public education for disabled children. Today, Clinton has concrete proposals on how to help the disabled in this country, including autistic kids. Clinton also has proposals to assist the mentally ill and Alzheimer’s patients, as well as stop the Zika virus.

 Donald Trump? In the early 1970s, Donald Trump’s father and he were refusing to
rent housing to African Americans in violation of the Fair Housing Act. He mocks the disabled and seeks an end to “political correctness” (aka civility) as we know it in this country. Trump has also been sued multiple times for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, including a variety of accessibility issues at his Atlantic City casino, Taj Mahal, which recently shut its doors after filing for bankruptcy. Trump has no concrete plans to help the sick, disabled, and downtrodden in our country.

 4. Women/Moms Should Trust Hillary More Than Trump to Reduce Gun Violence in This Country

As a corollary to #1 above, Hillary Clinton has been an ardent supporter for common sense gun safety laws. Her critics say, without any evidence whatsoever, that she aims to take away guns or abolish the Second Amendment but, in fact, she just wants enactment of laws that will operate to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, the severely mentally ill, domestic abusers, and convicted felons. Not only is this reasonable, it’s essential to protect Americans from mass shootings and other fatalities due to gun violence. Her goal of expanding background checks is supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners.

 Donald Trump? He has been
endorsed by the National Rifle Association for his views on guns, including the elimination of gun-free zones at schools. He also likes to tell jokes about gun violence, which really are not funny. At all.

 5. Women/Moms Should Trust HIllary More Than Trump to Help Families, Children, and Young Adults

Hillary Clinton has policies on K-12 education in this country that will ultimately benefit all of us. She wants to make pre-Kindergarten universal for all children, and has a plan for debt-free college. She is committed to fighting for paid family leave, and has done so both as First Lady and as a United States Senator. Starting with her work on the Children’s Defense Fund, Hillary has made children’s rights a priority. Also, most everyone knows that Hillary unsuccessfully fought for universal health care before it was Obamacare, but did you know that she helped pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which today insures millions of American children? She gave an interview to Parents Magazine in which she promised to help families and provided specifics.

 Donald Trump? As a lifelong businessman and entrepreneur, he is a relative newcomer to the question of education in our country and, since announcing his candidacy, has offered little to no specifics regarding how he would address or tackle the problems we face today. Most recently, his proposals to focus more resources on charter schools and voucher programs
seem likely to weaken or even gut our current public school system. When Parents Magazine reached out to ask Trump the same questions about families as were posed to Hillary, he declined to be interviewed.  Just this past Tuesday, he finally elaborated on his proposed childcare and maternity leave policies with daughter, Ivanka, standing beside him.   The maternity leave policy has already been criticized for being 50% shorter than Clinton’s proposal (six weeks vs. twelve weeks) and sexist as well (Clinton’s plan includes paternity leave for fathers; Trump’s is solely for working moms).  Trump’s childcare plan calls for a tax deduction that would benefit wealthy working mothers but not the average working mom who is struggling to make ends meet.

 6. Women/Moms Should Trust Hillary More Than Trump to Protect Our Environment

The graphic below makes clear that when it comes to protecting the environment for our kids and grandkids, there is no comparison between Clinton and Trump. Hillary understands the dangers of climate change and will work to protect our planet while creating jobs. And Trump? He has called the policies of the Obama administration, such as the Clean Power Plan, “stupid” and, like many Republicans, denies that climate change is a concern, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. 

We Are Living in a Post-Feminist Era and It’s Bad for Women & Our Girls

I remember them clearly. There were these books in my elementary school classroom about the earliest feminists: the ones who fought for the right to vote, or flew a plane, or pursued undercover reporting, or freed slaves through an underground railroad. These books were, in retrospect, highly inspirational to me; they sent the message that, even as an 11 or 12-year-old girl living in the U.S. in the late 1970s, I really could grow up to do anything I wanted. They also taught me that women had struggled with the pervasive sexism that had been deeply entrenched in our society from the earliest days, and that these things didn’t happen easily. So, these early feminists were also heroes to me. Besides reading, I also watched my fair share of TV, and loved programs like That Girl, and Mary Tyler Moore, and Maude. These shows made me see how a woman could be smart, strong, and feminine, all at the same time.

Then there was the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA),  which provided, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” (If it were written anew today, I suspect that the word “sex” would be changed to “gender.”) To me, the ERA made perfect sense because I learned at my Quaker school that, as a matter of morality, everyone is equal. I understood that the ERA was an important addition to our Constitution and that a certain number of states needed to ratify it for it to become law.   Congress had already approved it and only 38 of the states needed to ratify for it to become the law of the land. I also remembered how disappointed I was when I learned that there were not enough states and it looked like there might never be enough states. I’ve since learned that the ERA would have passed—we only needed 3 more states—but for the counter-movement of Phyllis Schlafly, an antifeminist political activist who basically told married women/housewives across America (and at the time about 65% of American women did get married) that they had it cushy already, but the ERA would send us off to war and have other negative effects.   Phyllis Schlafly’s movement killed the ERA. We lost our chance, and it was because of a woman. If I had realized this at the time, I am certain I would have seen this as the worst betrayal.

Even younger, when I was in kindergarten, I remember going into school and proudly telling the teacher that my mom voted for McGovern while my dad voted for Nixon.   This taught me that not only would I eventually have the right to vote, but just as importantly, that I didn’t have to exercise it the same way my husband did—that my right to vote was valuable and real and belonged to me.

My aunts were self-professed feminists—ahead of their time—and some of my earliest memories are of family gatherings where they would debate politics (often but not always involving women’s issues) with my father and uncles. I thought that was normal family gathering conversation, and that women should discuss and debate these things with men. I discussed U.S. history with my dad all the time at the dinner table. He had views about girls that were pretty much par for the course in that era: girls are good at English; boys are good at math and science. I certainly fit that mold, though I will never know if my father’s views encouraged me to think that I did, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On the other hand, my dad did introduce me to one of the earliest PC’s, made in the late 70s by Radio Shack, which he bought for his law practice—sparking an interest in computers, somewhat unusual in girls and women, that exists to this day—and had me doing data entry for him at the age of 10 or 11. Either way, my father never questioned that I was going to college and when I graduated cum laude from an Ivy League school he couldn’t have been prouder that I was going on to pursue the same career he did, as an attorney, with one of the largest law firms in the country.

After the fantasy world that was college in the 1980s, I carried my feminist sensibilities with me to law school, and beyond.   I took for granted, with a vague awareness of Roe v. Wade, that I could control whether or not I became pregnant through readily available contraception and could even have a safe abortion if I ever needed or wanted one. In the 1990’s, it was more common to be a professional woman (thanks to the trailblazers before us) and sexual harassment lawsuits could now be pursued in court due to the Civil Rights Act of 1991, resulting in more professional and civilized environments where men and women worked together.   I didn’t feel at all out of place at my law school where the male to female ratio was about 1:1, and I made the prestigious law review along with a lot of other women.

Then I graduated, and was suddenly thrust into the real world. In the early 90’s, the biggest issue facing us women (and a double-edged sword) was how to “have it all.”  Our parents raised us to be confident and think maybe we really could be “superwomen.”  (Another sign of feminism: Many of the younger women in my firm, though married, had decided to keep their “maiden name” or at least used their maiden name as a middle name.) I saw though the lifestyle of the female attorneys at my firm, even those who had somehow negotiated part-time status, and that almost all of the lawyers who became moms left over time. They had burnt out—we women lawyers worked as hard as the men—and they not only were working, but also taking care of a baby and running a household.

Moreover, I saw situations where part-time female attorneys ended up working for longer hours than they had negotiated—for the same salary they negotiated—so essentially they were underpaid. Also, the firm did not provide on-site day care, which made things even more difficult for these women who had to rush home to nannies or au pairs, or to a day care center. Fortunately, we big firm lawyers made enough money (alone or with one’s spouse) to cover the cost of the child care and still earn a living, but it quickly became apparent to me that in essence the cost of childcare ate up a sizeable portion of one’s income as a female lawyer and could be a barrier to resuming work for many women generally.

As a child, I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a mother some day, and gave it little thought, until I hit my mid-20s when my biological clock and maternal urges kicked into gear. The days of most of our parents—getting married young and having babies—were over. How could I possibly manage a career as a litigator at a large firm and a family? It didn’t help that I had a chronic illness—Crohn’s disease—that flared off and on, and even on my best days I never felt like I had the energy of the so-called “superwomen” I saw all around me. When I did get married—several months before I turned 30—I started noticing articles and hearing buzz about another phenomenon: By delaying having babies into their 30s or even early 40s, professional women like me who put career first risked infertility.  Sure enough, when the time came to try, I couldn’t get pregnant. I waited until my mid-30s and that was too long. Eventually, I did become pregnant and gave birth—twice—but at the time two years seemed like an eternity and I wondered if I would ever be a mother.

It was when I was very, very pregnant with my second child that I sat at a table with law school friends and realized what a deep chasm that had formed between us. We were all smart women, who practiced law in our chosen specialties. One woman had decided that she was going to have a child, but only one. The other woman was divorced after a short, disastrous marriage, and had no children.   The two mothers (me being one of them) at the table exchanged some ugly words that ended the friendship. I had decided to stay home with my two children. (To be completely honest, I’ll never know if I would have made that decision if I did not also have a serious chronic illness, but it was my decision and I owned it wholeheartedly.) The other mom went right back to work after a maternity leave from her job as a lobbyist, which had always been the plan. I believe she still works at the same job 14 years later.   That night, though, it was all about the judging, which was couched in angry words and harsh tones. Who made the right decision? What was the more feminist choice?

With all these years of hindsight I can look back and say—we both did. Feminism is, to me, the ability to choose one’s own path in life, without government interference for sure, but also without judgment from other women, or anybody else.   It is, put another way, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, rights which, by the way, are only provided in the Declaration of Independence to extend to men.  So now I must ask the question: How far have we come, since I went into a kindergarten classroom and proudly announced my mother voted for the other guy, or even since I went to law school?   Young women and not surprisingly many men today seem to think we are living in a post-feminist society and perhaps, by dint of views like theirs, we are. But is that a positive or a negative development for women and girls?

Well, we have certainly evolved in our views towards women to some extent. There are currently 3 women on the Supreme Court, more than ever before. There are 20 women out of the total 100 currently in the Senate, and another 84 women out of the total 435 currently in House. There are many women in state legislatures around the country and a handful of governors (currently 6 out of 50).   This is a huge improvement over the makeup of our government in the early 90’s.  There are also more women working in a wider range of fields than ever before.

Still, we know that women remain a distinct minority in our government, sorely underrepresented in the upper echelons of the business world, in engineering and science fields, and in other careers thought by my father’s generation to be more for men than women. We know that, while there are sexual harassment laws, far too many women endure the sexual abuse and date rape that occurs on college campuses and elsewhere, and the victim shaming or sweeping under the rug that happens if a woman dares to complain about it.  We know that there continue to be disparities in salary for the same job  (even for Hollywood superstars like Jennifer Lawrence), no federally mandated paid maternity leave, and other obstacles that keep women from being able to work and have a family at the same time, thus making many of us lose traction or even fail in our careers.

We know that there are 15 states that still refuse to ratify the ERA despite it being introduced in various states every year since the 1970s. We know that we are but one Supreme Court justice away from further eroding or even overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.  We know that Planned Parenthood is under attack and many conservative men in our government (and even some Republican female lawmakers) seek to defund it.  Finally, we stand on the brink of determining if we will elect our first woman President after hundreds of years of men. Despite this woman being eminently qualified for the job, we hear all the time the sexist views that persist when discussing her character traits and demeanor.   Misogynistic views towards Hillary Clinton extend to the popularity of highly offensive merchandise sold over the Internet that have Monica Lewinsky’s image with taglines like “I Got the ‘Job’ Done When Hillary Couldn’t” or “clever” retorts like “Hillary will go down faster than Bill’s pants,” and even “Trump that Bitch.”  Seriously.

Sexism is the persistent idea that somehow and, in some way, men are superior to women, or that we are objects put on this earth for their pleasure and service, and we should therefore be treated differently as a result.   It pervades our popular culture (for a woman, appearance is more important than anything else), our politics (nicknames like “Shrillary”), our business world (in the Fortune 500, there are only 22 companies with female CEOs), and our social interactions with one another. Instead of shows like Mary Tyler Moore or books about strong, positive female role models in the 1970s, we have instead The Real Housewives of Potomac and books and movies like Fifty Shades of Grey. To pretend sexism doesn’t exist and say things like, for example, “Don’t vote for Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman,” particularly a woman like Clinton, whose goal is to further and even prioritize women’s rights, is to be like Phyllis Schafly, dismissing the ERA as bad for women, all those years ago.

It is so very apparent that while young women and most men believe we are in a post-feminist era, we are not in a post-sexist era any more than we are in a post-racial era. Moreover, if Barack Obama’s historic presidency is any indication, even if Hillary Clinton becomes our first women president, that will not mean the end of sexism in this country, and it surely will rear its ugly head in how others treat her or talk about her. Many conservative white men in particular will be unhappy and frustrated over the loss of their grip on executive power for yet another four years, and talk of “taking back their country” will continue.

Women of every ilk live in our great country: single, married, divorced; employed, unemployed, self-employed; straight and gay; religious and secular. Indeed, women fall into various combinations of these “categories.” It is not anymore the norm that a woman goes from her father’s home to her husband’s and is protected by him until the day she dies. Thus, when we advance the rights of all women, we advance the rights of everyone. As Hillary Clinton put it so eloquently (see below) when she went to Beijing 20 years ago at the Fourth World Conference on Women, “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.”

Girls and young women may not completely understand the history of women’s rights, may take for granted certain advances that required a lot of hard work and dogged determination by relatively few heroic women, and will certainly continue to be pummeled (brainwashed?) by messages born of an inherently sexist and paternalistic society.  Nevertheless, I propose we try our best to teach them before they leave home, for college, and certainly for the real world, that women’s rights are their rights, and the prospective rights of their daughters and granddaughters.

With love and kindness,

The FeMOMist