Posts Tagged ‘Equal Rights Amendment’

Three Ways Not to Celebrate Women’s Equality Day – August 26, 2011

Congresswoman (D-NY) Bella AbzugAs second wave feminism gathered peak velocity forty years ago, the late bombastic and behatted Congresswoman (D-NY) Bella Abzug persuaded Congress to designate August 26th as Women’s Equality Day. It recognized the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that in 1920 gave all U.S. women the right to vote.

There are many reasons to celebrate the 91st anniversary of women winning the ballot, which some suffragist leaders mistakenly believed culminated the struggle for women’s rights. But it turns out the solution to a problem changes the problem–creating uncomfortable new questions about the value of equality and what to do once we get there.

We’ve come a long way, maybe…

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Afghanistan to Alaska–Who Respects Women Less?

The Twitterati loudly retweeted their rightful shock this past week as women around the internet e-mailed one another to organize protests against Afghan president Karzai’s signing a law a that allows fundamentalist Muslims to enforce Sharia, including requirements that women must submit to sex with their husbands at least every four days, thus effectively legalizing marital rape.

Meanwhile, 300 courageous Afghan women exercised their right to protest this barbaric law by staging a public march to their capital. They were met with over 1,000 counter-protesters, some of whom threw stones, spat, and called them whores, which tells you exactly where their stupidly misogynist heads are.

For those who want a way to voice their opposition immediately, here’s an action you can take to persuade President Obama to act on his statement that this law is intolerable. And here’s how to deliver the same message via text to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But lest we in the U.S. become too self-righteous, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s nomination of far-right attorney and her longtime Hummer (what else?)-driving political ally Wayne Anthony Ross for attorney general is clear evidence that the same misogynistic strains are yet to be rooted out here.

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Courageous Leadership and the Equal Rights Amendment

Today, March 22, is the anniversary of the U.S. Senate’s passage in 1972 of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a constitutional amendment that would–IF it had been ratified by 3/4 of the states by its ten-year deadline in 1982– have ensured equal rights could not be denied on the basis of gender.

Let me tell you a story about leadership, persistence, and courage.

The original ERA, first introduced in Congress in 1923, was written by Alice Paul, a women’s rights activist Alice Paul toasting the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution giving women the right to votewho was instrumental in the 1920 ratification of the 19th amendment, which guaranteed women’s right to vote. Paul also started the National Women’s Party, believing that otherwise women’s concerns would never be taken seriously by politicians.

The ERA has been re-introduced in nearly every session of Congress since then. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? We don’t hear too much about it, bu it’s still very much alive and with the election of Barack Obama there’s a resurging movement to restart the ratification process and get the three additional states needed to give women equal rights in the Constitution that didn’t even consider them citizens when it was written.

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Women, Ambition, and Barrier Breaking

In my previous post suggesting an “Obama for Women” agenda, I suggested Barack Obama incorporate an initiative to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which was first introduced in 1923 and still hasn’t been ratified into the Constitution. John has posted a couple of times to say that he sees giving equality to women under the law as imposing one morality on all. Further, he’s pointed out that women are 51% of the population, so we should act like the majority we are and know our own power.

Though his first point is ludicrous, the second raises some questions worth considering. I began to ask some of them in an article I wrote for Elle magazine’s upcoming September edition (time out for self-promotion: check newsstands the first week in August). In my research, I found that political doors are now open for women, but women aren’t walking through them, let alone racing through them toward parity in elected office as I’d like to see. So when my friend and WomenGirlsLadies panel colleague Deborah Siegel asked me to guest post on her Girl With Pen blog while she’s off getting married, I decided to ask some tough questions which I will cross post here on Heartfeldt. To wit, and I look forward to your thoughts as to the why and what’s to be done about it:

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MESSAGE TO OBAMA PART 2: CHANGE YOUR VIEW TO “OBAMA FOR WOMEN”

In the first post on “Message to Obama: Change Your View to Obama for Women“, I made clear that I’ll vote for Obama, but the fervor with which I and many other women work for his election will be determined by his actions going forward. As one former Clinton activist said, “women aren’t marginal; we’re the key”. John Kerry took women’s votes for granted, and won only 51% of women’s votes in 2004. That’s several points too low to create a gender gap capable of propelling any Democratic presidential candidate to victory.

Since I wrote that post, Obama’s tidy double digit lead over John McCain evaporated to a measly 3%, a statistical dead heat. This shift was brought about in no small part by Obama’s clumsy attempts to tack to the presumed center on core issues like wiretapping and abortion ostensibly to broaden his base, but instead turning off the passionately progressive grassroots groundswell that brought him to where he is. And remember–Republicans vote for their candidate come hell or high water while Democrats argue the issues, and that’s how we all too often lose elections.

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