Posts Tagged ‘suffrage movement’

The Sum – Meaning of the Week: Eclipsed

“The first responsibility of leadership is the creation of meaning.”—Warren Bennis. The word of the week is ECLIPSED As in: Where were you during the solar eclipse? As in: Did anyone notice Women’s Equality Day is August 26? As in: And when did the Equal Rights Amendment pass? Let’s start with the first question, probably…

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The Sum Volume #5: Move

“The first responsibility of leadership is the creation of meaning.”—Warren Bennis. Welcome to the Sum, where I share my take on the meaning of sum of the week’s parts. I want your voice too. Leave comments here or @GloriaFeldt. The word of the week is MOVE. As in a movement has to move to be…

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Remembering Jeannette Rankin, First US Congresswoman

If women had held the preponderance of political leadership roles for the last few millennia, would peace have become more of a central organizing theme of history than war?

Jeannette Rankin, a Montana Republican and lifelong pacifist, was elected to Congress in 1916; that’s four years before the Constitution gave all women the right to vote. Not only did Rankin lead the way as a first for women, she defied all semblance of political tradition by opposing both World War I and World War II.

Rankin’s leadership style has many lessons for us today, especially since she did not shy away from controversy. The subject of Rankin’s very first Congressional vote (against President Wilson’s WWI war resolution) set the stage for her destiny. Rankin lost the support of most of the women’s suffragists who had campaigned for her, because they feared her anti-war vote made women look weak and hurt the suffrage movement. Embracing controversy can be tough when we ruffle the feathers of our opponents, but it’s even tougher when we lose the support of our closest friends and allies.

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A Brief and Checkered History of Women’s Path to Parity, Our Power Leap Moment, and the Road Ahead

Today’s Women’s History Month post was written for the NOW New York newsletter. It was a tossup whether to place it in my Heartfeldt Politics blog or if I should put it into Courageous Leadership or Powered Women. While it could have fit in any of these, I chose Heartfeldt because the movement history strikes me as being exactly where the political meets the personal. See if you agree.

“If women want any rights more than they got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.” –-Sojourner Truth, 1797-1883, former slave, abolitionist, Sojourner Truth – click for more infowomen’s rights activist, traveling preacher

During the last 50 years, thanks to feminism and other civil rights movements, reliable birth control, and an economy that requires more brain than brawn, women have broken many barriers that historically prevented us from partaking as equals at life’s table. I feel privileged to be part of this amazing trajectory, and I thank NOW for what it has done for all women, and for me specifically.

I was a desperate housewife in Odessa, Texas, when I discovered NOW a few years after its 1966 founding, and joined as an at-large member. Soon, I’d find the half-dozen other at-large members in West Texas’ expanse. It was a heady time of firsts for women; still, few of us could have predicted either the stunning advances or the discouraging setbacks ahead.

Fast forward to Hillary Clinton’s groundbreaking presidential campaign. Today even right-wing Republicans realize putting a woman on the ticket symbolizes electrifying change. Women outnumber men in universities, reproductive technologies have changed the power balance in personal relationships and we’re closer to parity in earnings than any time in history.

To be sure, women still don’t have full equality in any sphere of political or economic endeavor.

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