March is Women’s History Month.
Nowadays, the fact that women have accomplishments and responsibilities outside of the traditional female sphere seems normal. But the reality is that it was not too long ago that women had no rights and had to fight for even the most basic of rights that men take for granted. The 19th Amendment was only ratified in 1920.
Don’t get me wrong, our accomplishments in only a few generations are nothing short of breathtaking. When our fore mothers were simply fighting for the right to vote and have a voice in their government, they might not have foreseen the snowball effect of wanting to vote. The educational and professional opportunities that were once closed to us are now ours for the taking. We can choose if and when we marry and have children. Our lives are our own.
But even with all of that, there are still many battles to fight:
- Equal pay for equal work.
- Safety from sexual violence, at home, on the street and at work.
- Easy access to safe and reliable birth control.
This war is not over and will not be over until women are seen and treated as equals to men. While that day has not come yet, it will come. We just have to keep working and fighting for it.
Across the nation tomorrow, multiple towns and cities will be holding local elections.
I urge my fellow citizens, if there is a local election in your area, regardless of where your land on the political spectrum, to get out and vote.
It is our right, it is our privilege, it is our responsibility. There countries around the world where the simple act of voting is tantamount to revolution.
My fellow New York City residents, if they are still up in the air about whom they are voting for, can find more information here.
I also want to remind any woman who is ambivalent about voting, what it took to get us the right to vote.
Alice Paul was tortured in prison, just for protesting that women could not vote. If we don’t vote tomorrow, we dishonor her memory and the memories of the women of that generation who suffered so we could vote.
Next Tuesday is a momentous day in American politics. November 8th, 2016 is the day that we finally go to the polls and determine who will next occupy the oval office for the next four years.
Regardless of who we vote for, we need to vote. Here are the reasons why:
- Voting is both a privilege and a responsibility:
- There are far too many countries in this world of ours where voting simply does not happen. The right to have a say in how a government runs a country is still a dream for far too many.
- Don’t complain if you don’t like the decisions that our next President may or may not make.
- There is always that one person who doesn’t vote because they don’t like either of the candidates of they feel like their voice is not heard. I can’t force anyone to vote next Tuesday, but I will say this: don’t complain about the direction this country is taking. Just saying.
- For American women, this election is the most important election in our country’s history. There is no reason why any woman should sit back and rest on their laurels next Tuesday.
- With a certain misogynistic, fake tan wearing Republican candidate running,
Donald Trump, running for office, we need to send a message that a woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be. Not just in the bedroom or the kitchen or the playroom with the children. There are no boundaries to what a woman can accomplish.
- Crossing fingers, America will have her first female President in the form of Hillary Clinton. As a woman reared by the second generation of feminism, hearing the words Madame President is music to my ears and represents the work of many women for more than 100 years.
- It was not that long ago that American women were fighting for the right to vote. In four years, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Next Tuesday, we have an honor, a right, a privilege and a responsibility to step into the voting booth and determine how our future will be. I am proud to be an American and I am proud that my voice will be heard.
I hope to see you all at the voting booth.
Today was the Democratic and Republican primaries in New York State.
Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary and Donald Trump won the Republican primary.
Today I voted.
Among the iconic and most basic human rights that are listed on the Bill Of Rights, one of the most important is the right to vote. It guarantees all citizens have a voice in how their country is being run.
I voted today not just because it is a privilege, but because it is my right and responsibility. There are many countries around the world where voting rights are severely restricted or non-existent, especially for women.
I voted today because 100 years ago, women were still fighting for the right to vote.
Today I voted, did you?
Today I voted. It was only a local election, but I still voted.
I voted for the women who protested in front of the White House for the right to vote.
I voted for Alice Paul, who went on a hunger strike in Occoquan Workhouse and was forced to eat by prison doctors.
I voted for the women who went to work during World War II while their husbands and brothers fought overseas.
I voted for the women who went to work in the 1950’s and 1960’s and were discriminated against by their male bosses and colleagues.
I voted for my mother’s generation, who would not back down and quietly return to the traditional roles their mothers and grandmothers had been forced into.
I voted for my generation who have the advantages and experiences that previous generations of women only dreamed of.
I voted for the generation of young girls who will one day vote.
I vote because it is my right and responsibility as a citizen.
I vote because of the previous generations who fought for this basic right.
I vote because there are still millions of women around the world who are shackled to archaic rules about what it is to be female and what she can or cannot accomplish.
I voted today.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’d like to share a few quotes and videos from some of the trailblazers and fore-mothers who have come before us.
“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand.
“If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”- Jane Austen, Persuasion
“A woman is like a tea bag-you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”-Eleanor Roosevelt
“The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I’m thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad.”-Erica Jong, Fear Of Flying
My fellow Americans
Next Tuesday, the voting booths will be open across the country. I urge everyone who is 18 and older to take five minutes from their day and vote.
Our country and democracy is a marvelous thing. We have rights that many are still fighting for. But that does not mean we can take those rights for granted.
Those rights come with a price. A price that can easily be paid by spending five minutes at your local voting booth.
I especially urge women to vote. It was not so long ago that we did not have these rights, that we had to fight for the simple idea of telling our government what we thought.
If we forget the battles that previous generations of women fought for the most basic, precious right to vote, then it is our cross to bear for not raising our voices when we had the opportunity.
I recommend the movie Iron Jawed Angels as a reminder on why it is so important to vote.
It’s only five minutes of your day, but those five minutes could impact the rest your life.
Filed under Feminism, Movies
August 18th, 1920 is watershed date in the lives of American women. It is the day that the 19th Amendment was ratified, guaranteeing every American woman the right to vote.
In 2004, HBO premiered Iron Jawed Angels , the true story of the women who fought for the right to vote.
Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns (Frances O’Connor) are the leaders of the Suffragette movement, fighting for a national law providing women the right to vote. Standing in their way is not only the male led government, but the older generation, Carrie Chapman Catt (Angelica Huston) who are advocating a state by state pathway to the right to vote instead of a national law.
This movie should be seen by every American woman. These women are brought to life as fully developed characters, flaws and all. I am reminded of this movie when I vote for my political leaders, from the smallest local government to the presidential vote. Without these brave women, we would still be second class citizens, without rights and chattel to the men in our lives.
“Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity” In their own time, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns were thought to be insane. But without their insanity, we would be living in a very different country.