Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Women's Equality Day!

On August 26th, 1920, the United States passed the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. And in 1971, Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY) started Women's Equality Day, also on August 26th.

So, if you're a woman and you engage or have engaged in any of the following behaviors:

1) Voting

2) Working outside the home

3) Wearing pants

4) Getting painkillers during childbirth

5) Earning a living wage

6a) Getting divorced

6b) Giving birth out of wedlock

6c) 6a and 6b, and still educating your children

Then you, my friend, are a feminist in the style of these brave, strong women with fabulous hats. Take a moment to reflect on all of the freedoms American women enjoy thanks to them, freedoms that are sadly still unavailable to many of our sisters overseas. We in America, who have voted, gone to college, and raised our children under the banner of "liberty and justice for all" for several generations, sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. We forget that feminism isn't about beauty pageants, nipple slips, or who gets to open the door for whom on a date. Feminism is about the the Afghan schoolgirls who get battery acid thrown in their faces, and the 95% of Malian women who undergo genital mutilation. It's about bride burnings, honor killings, rape as a war tactic, and gender-specific abortions. And ultimately, it is about hope: hope that someday, every woman everywhere can speak her mind, get an education, marry if and whom she chooses, have control of her own body, and make her own destiny.

Nicolas Kristof, one of my favorite NY Times writers, and Sheryl WuDunn wrote a wonderful article, The Women's Crusade, making the case that achieving equality for women is the solution to far-reaching and pervasive global problems, from poverty to economic growth to terrorism. An expert:

"IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape. Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater."

It's a fascinating article, and I urge all *let me think, one, two, three* four of my readers to check it out.

And don't forget to get your daily dose of girl power at my favorite feminist website, Catch the fever--vagina fever.

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