Sunday, January 22, 2017

Strong Women, Resilient Women speak up

I am happy to see Rosemary Royston writing on her blog and on Facebook about women in our culture who have made a difference, many of them with little recognition for their efforts and accomplishments.

Maya Angelou said, "You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn't do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.

This quote by Maya Angelou speaks to me, because history proves that if you feel you are not being treated equally to others and that you should be, then you must speak out. Being angry and bitter and calling names on Facebook does no one any good. But making those who represent you in office know how you feel will register with someone, especially when you vote.

I am a huge advocate for women because young women my age were expected to go to college simply to find a man who would take care of them. I know from growing up in a family dominated by males, where the females had no voice. I know from working in what was considered a "man's job" for awhile, and I know from seeing fabulous women struggle to get the respect and honor they deserve.  

Vote it! I like that
So many women didn't vote in the last national election. Many who voted followed the lead of the men they knew. One told me she had never paid any attention to politics. She voted, but now, after the election, she is wondering why some people are so upset. Too many women vote according to what someone tells them instead of reading and learning all they can about those who are up for election.  

I also hear women say they voted for someone because of one single issue. Many times that one single issue is not even addressed once the man is in office. We must know the candidate as well as we possibly can, no matter the party, no matter what he says during the campaign. We have learned that candidates will say anything, it seems, to get elected. And they are forgiven for lying to the people who support them and believe them.

I am reading a most interesting book by Gail Collins, When Everything Changed, the Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to  the present. I  bought this book at City Lights Books in Sylva, NC. It was published in 2009.

During the sixties, seventies, and on, bright women, who became scientists and went into research, discovered important facts and truths that hardly made a ripple in the vast ocean of scientific public knowledge. In the article below, you  can see their stories.

Ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote. 

My mother was fifteen years old when women were granted the right to vote.That was not too long ago. 

It might be difficult for young women today to believe that until 1920 women were denied the right to vote on who would make the laws and rules under which they lived. Women were denied many things and it didn't end with the 19th amendment.

1960 was the  fortieth anniversary of women having the constitutional right to vote.
I was a college student at that time and I had no idea what women could do in this country or what women had accomplished. I thought my only choices were teaching school, becoming a nurse or a secretary. Or, I could meet a man who would be successful and provide me with a nice home where I could cook him fine meals, raise well-behaved children, look as lovely as I could when he came home each evening and try to please him in every way possible. Some of the young women I knew did that and some were happy. Those women are the ones who are celebrating 60 year marriages today. I applaud them, mostly for having husbands who lived a long time. I didn't.

Some of the women who left college to get married ended up in divorce when it was too late to find that doctor who would take care of them forever. Often they had to work at menial jobs because they didn't get an education that would prepare them to earn a living. Many women stayed in unhappy marriages because they knew they could not afford to take care of their children without the husband's salary.

Leaders of the movements for women recognized in 1960, after forty years, there were only two women who had ever been appointed to cabinet-level positions in our government and one woman who was on a lower court as a judge.

Two-thirds of women in 1960 did not approve of a woman as  president.
I am afraid we still have that mentality today. When newspapers in 1960 wrote about the active women who met to discuss the political issues and work for the campaigns, they led with paragraphs about the table d├ęcor and what dishes were served. Headlines were "GOP Women Facing a Calorie Packed Week." Patronizing women kept them "in their place" and sadly a number of females did not recognize it. If you pay attention you will see that manipulation taking place at dinner parties and cocktail parties today, and probably even more in business offices. Most older men might not even realize they do it because it was such a part of our culture.

Today when we have  women on the Supreme Court, mainly due to a few presidents like Jimmy Carter, we realize the difference made by the women's movement of the seventies.

Until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act in 1974, women were not able to apply for credit cards. I remember my sister telling me she had been turned down when she tried to use her husband's credit card. I had my own credit card, and I insisted she go out and get a credit card in her own name. Young women today could not imagine not having their own credit cards.

I was disappointed when the one woman running for our local board of  County Commissioners was defeated. This woman has done more and worked harder for our county than the men who were running. She had two strikes against her. She was running as a Democrat, and she was a woman. In our very conservative county no woman has ever served on the Commision. 

I  hope there are studies in high school or college where young students can learn about the determined women who helped us get where we are today. I firmly believe that more women in our government, local, state and federal, would make for a better country for all of us. But those women have to be strong, relentless, and courageous to fight the harassment and determined efforts of the men in power. I heard Megan Kelley speak about what her life at FOX Broadcasting was like and how she had to fight off the advances of her boss while trying to keep her job. She knew if she made public what happened when she was in his office, she would not only lose her  job, but would be blackballed and never again work for anyone in broadcast journalism. 

But, sadly, with the present administration, I am afraid women's rights will be set back decades. Some of today's young women seem to accept the status quo and believe that women are doing well, but they don't understand that they have to be staunch supporters of the rights of women. I have noticed that those rights won through years of struggle are being eroded in subtle ways. Pharmacists refusing to sell birth control pills, for example. We must pay attention.

The Women's March today was unbelieveable. I look forward to learning and hearing more about the speeches and the messages brought forth throughout the nation. From the size of the crowds there is far more fear and concern for our future than I thought.


Elephant's Child said...

I was thrilled to learn that people (not just women) marched in over 60 countries in solidarity with the women of your country.
Sadly discrimination, both subtle and overt, continues in too much of the world. When for example are we going to achieve equal pay and equal representative in government and on company boards.
An important fight which I hope is gaining momentum again.

DJan said...

I will do my part to keep the momentum going in my part of the world, with money to support the NRDC, Planned Parenthood, and writing letters and more. We are beginning what I hope is a worldwide movement. Perhaps Donald Trump being elected was needed to galvanize us. I marched in solidarity with thousands in my little town. :-)

Barbara Gabriel said...

It seems discouraging to be fighting some of the same equality fights as we were decades ago. I remember being in 7th grade and telling someone I was a feminist; of course, they laughed. 46 years later, they aren't laughing, because the scale of this weekend's marches has them frightened. I've never been part of something of the magnitude of those marches, in terms of numbers or inspiration. I'm going to keep marching, right past those who would prefer me to stay home. In fact, I'll march for them, too.

Glenda Council Beall said...

EC, I was so happy to see that women and men all over the world marched in protest of inequality of all people. It is heartening to know we do have power. thanks for your comment.

Glenda Council Beall said...

DJan, like you I will no longer be silent. I will speak up and I will support organizations that I believe make a difference. I was so disappointed that Mr. Trump signed a bill that prevents funding for women in poor countries to have counseling about abortions. How many will get illegal abortions because they don't know their choices. Education is the only way to stop abortions. If there is no money to pay for it, desperate women will seek someone, not always a good doctor, to take care of the issue. Poor women are the ones who most often seek an abortion because they can't afford to pay for another child. Mr. Trump is starting out hurting the poor. Planned Parenthood is necessary for those who need help and cannot afford to pay high medical bills.

Glenda Council Beall said...

Barbara, you are one of the strong, resilient women who will speak for others as well as yourself. I love your comment and I'm proud of you for marching with all the people who demand better treatment, not only for women, but for all who need a voice.

You can act physically and you can write well, telling the truths that need to be heard.
Thank you.

Lee Hunter said...

We have come a long way! And we still have a ways to go! Thanks for reminding us of how far we have come.