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Archive for the ‘19th Amendment’ Category

The Topsy Turvy Path to Equality

Posted by ptanji on August 26, 2011

I just listened to Charlie Rose’s interview with Gloria Steinem.  If you get a chance check out the HBO documentary  “Gloria: In Her Own Words”.   How fitting to reflect on such a rich, full, life well lived long after the suffragists work culminated on August 26, 1920.  Alas, the advancement of women in society is not just about the work of great women like Gloria Steinem, Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Susan B. Anthony – it is about all of us.  Advancing the role of women continues to be about our stories, our work, and our legacies.   What’s yours?

I did not grow up a feminist and never heard the term until my early 30’s.  As a young adult I knew about battered women’s shelters, double standards, and that teenage girls who had sex with boys were considered ‘sluts’.  I knew girls that got pregnant were sent away – far, far, away, that the coffee at my work was served under a poster of a playboy bunny and that sexual advances of men at work were just something you put up with.  But, I never knew there was a movement afoot to address the insanity until my early 30’s – and then, of course, I joined it.

By the 1990’s, the right to vote, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, and other laws to address reproductive health, property, and lending rights were already passed.  Sexual harassment was the injustice of my day and it became my cause while Anita Hill bore the torch.  As a result of the sexual harassment movement there is a name for those playboy posters by the coffee station and the unwanted solicitations I endured.  Many stories were told, many political battles were fought and won and many advances gained.   Which begs the question, what’s next?

Today, the rights of all people to exist as equals to all others remains a global cause for women and men.  The uprising in Libya is the latest to catch our attention as people there fight for the right to bring their whole human selves to wherever they are, the workplace, the mosques, the sidewalk café’s, and to the political arena. The fight for justice continues and is necessary.  In Gloria’s words, “There’s something in us that knows, you are not the boss of me.”

In Stanton and Anthony’s days the suffrage movement was fragmented between the abolishonists, the temperance movement, and women’s rights.  In Gloria’s day the women’s movement was fragmented between the Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique)   camp of white suburban middle class women who wanted to join the existing systems and the Bella Abzug camp who were fighting for welfare and lesbians rights.  Steinem describes them as “not at all what Betty had in mind.”  Today women are equally fragmented between those of us on the left of left, the right of left, the middle left (confused yet?) and just about anywhere in between. And I would be remiss if I did not mention women who would drop over dead if they heard their name is the same sentence as Gloria Steinem. (aka Bachman, Palin).   There are thousands of fragments because “no one owns a movement”, Gloria reminds us.  Yes, indeed.

Yesterday, I tossed my poster of suffragists in the recycling as a symbolic nod to a new era of the feminist movement.    A messy, unpredictable, undisciplined, non-linear, topsy-turvy exciting movement to God knows where.  Pick a spot and join the ride.  Its going to be wild! And, don’t forget to tell your story.

[Patty Tanji is the President of the Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota.  She is also the owner of Open Workplace where she educates and motivates leaders to incorporate practices in their organizations that encourage trust, accountability, and transparency.  You can find her on twitter @ptanji]

Patty Tanji
Patty Tanji

Posted in 19th Amendment, Feminism, Women's Equality Day | 1 Comment »

Let’s Get Fired Up, Again!

Posted by joyinhome on October 25, 2010

“Yes We Can” and “Si Se Puede” were the battle cries heard across the nation two years ago.

With mid-term elections only eight days away, I have to remind us that women have had significant gains under this administration that can not be ignored. We must get out to vote!

The list below include enormous gains for women and families, including legislation to directly address education, poverty and medical care.

Yes, unemployment is still high; yes, the economy is far from strong; and yes, many people are still hurting… however, we know that true change takes time. With that said, we can not abandon the foundation that is being laid for our children and great, grandchildren to come. Women and families need the type of policies that have been enacted since 2008.

VOTE ON NOVEMBER 2nd! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your colleagues. It’s critical if you want to see true change in these United States.

Posted in 19th Amendment, Advocacy, Economy, Education, Families, Feminism, Health, Pay Equity, Politics, YWM | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Women’s Equality Day, The Right to Vote and Nuclear Negotiations

Posted by sherrysaunders on August 26, 2010

Working for the Right to Vote

On Women’s Equality Day we not only celebrate passage of the 19th Amendment 90 years ago giving women the right to vote but also call attention to women’s ongoing efforts to achieve full equality.  While while a greater percentage of women vote than men we don’t hold a proportionate number of elected positions. And while we are now more than 50 percent of the workforce we have not achieved pay equity.

But what I would call a “good news” story in the Washington Post caught my eye the other day.  The Post reported that during the negotiations on the new nuclear treaty with Moscow, the U.S. team was filled with women.  It was so noticeable that the Russians even asked “How come you’ve got so many women?”  While not reported I hope our team asked back “How come you’ve got so many men?”

Some of you may not have been around 25 years ago when President Reagan’s White House chief of staff Donald Regan said that women ”aren’t interested in the nitty-gritty” of nuclear negations and that they are not ”going to understand throw weights or what is happening in Afghanistan or what is happening in human rights.” He also said when discussing females and South African sanctions — ”Are the women of America prepared to give up all their diamonds?” 

Rose Gottemoeller

Hard to believe that someone could say such offensive things and hold on to their job, but today’s nuclear team has proven him oh so wrong.  As reported in the Post the U.S team was led by Rose Gottemoeller. Her deputy was Marcie Ries, another diplomat. The top two U.S. scientists were female. And helping to close the deal on the New START agreement was Ellen O. Tauscher, a State Department undersecretary and former congresswoman. Obviously women not only get nuclear policy, they run it or at least a lot of it.   

Women hold now senior positions at the State Department, Pentagon, Senior Intelligence Service, USAID and the White House. These changes have not come about overnight, since it has only been since 1973 that the State Department lifted its ban on married women in the diplomatic service.  But the times they are a changin’ and it feels good to this woman who can remember her anger at Donald Regan’s unapologetic foot in mouth moment.  I did get a laugh though when Andrea Mitchell asked Regan about throw weights and he hemmed and hawed with such a lack of understanding, it was a joy to behold.

But we don’t have to go back 25 years to find stupid statements about women’s worth in the workplace.  Just last week a U.S. Chamber of Commerce employee, Brad Peck, blogged about how women wanting equal pay have a “Fetish for Money” and how we should focus on marrying the right partner, I guess to take care of us so we wouldn’t have to work.  He and Don Regan would have been best buddies. 

So where are we now?  We have come along way but there is still a long way to go.  Not only to achieve equality but to overcome and silence the likes of Brad Peck and Donald Regan.  I know I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and I only hope that my shoulders are stong enough to hold those still coming. 

Posted in 19th Amendment, Feminism, Rant, Woman Misbehavin', Women's Equality Day | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »