Issue 81 — January 21, 2019 “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. The two movements that have shaped my life converged this long weekend. Today, January 21, is Martin Luther King Day. I braved the winter storm in New York to celebrate a day early yesterday at Harlem’s…Read More
Issue 79 — January 7, 2019 Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at Spirit of the Senses, a long-established Phoenix-area group of people who get together for lectures and discussions on provocative topics. They asked me to speak about “After #metoo.” I determined to make it a discussion rather than a speech. It was lively, animated,…Read More
Issue 68— September 30, 2018 He yelled; she calmly measured her words. He displayed raw anger; she acknowledged being terrified. A furious and often aggressive Brett Kavanaugh pushed back hard on questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee. At times he deflected their questions entirely, never stating unequivocally whether he wanted an FBI investigation of the facts and…Read More
Issue 65 — September 9, 2018 I’m not a tennis player. Want to know why? I’ll reveal that in a bit. Right now I am obsessed with Serena Williams for so many reasons. First, it was the flap about her catsuit and then her tutu. But now, all things Serena have ratcheted up to the point that if anyone…Read More
“You have to meet Mallika—she’s amazing!” my friend Lynn Harris enthused. She was so right. There are few people with visions big enough to encompass human rights on a global scale and then create breakthrough ways to advance them. Mallika Dutt did just that, and she tells her story in this week’s “She’s Doing It.” President and CEO of Breakthrough, the global human rights organization she started is based in New York and India and uses the power of arts, media, and pop culture to advance dignity, equality, and justice. Read on and be sure to watch the powerful video’s they’ve produced to deliver the message.
“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
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. All of my Women’s History Month posts come from a place of profound appreciation for the shoulders I stand on. Women like Sojourner Truth who had so much courage, clarity of vision, and leadership savvy.
I found feminism when I was a desperate housewife in Odessa, Texas in the 1960’s. After volunteering for civil rights organizations, I had the epiphany that women should have civil rights too. I “discovered” the new Ms Magazine. Then, I joined the National Organization for Women a few years after its 1966 founding, 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 that didn’t take women into the presidency, but came close enough that no one will ever again ask whether women are smart enough or tough enough to do the job. Today even right-wing Republicans realize putting a woman on the ticket symbolizes electrifying change. Women earn 60% of college degrees, 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. Women hold just 17% of seats in Congress–the 2010 elections resulted in the first decline in over a decade–and under 25% of state legislative offices; 3% of top clout positions in mainstream media corporations and 15% of corporate board positions. We’re still waging a battle for reproductive rights, both at the state and federal levels. And despite gender equity laws, women earn 3/4ths of what men do while shouldering the lion’s share of responsibility for child rearing.
Still, the most confounding problem facing women today isn’t that doors aren’t open, but that women aren’t walking through the doors in numbers and with intention sufficient to transform society’s major institutions once and for all. Probing history, there seems to be a recurrent approach-avoidance pattern.Read More