I am a Christian woman and my Facebook feed has been filled with posts from other Christian women who opposed the Women’s March this past Saturday. I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut, but feel that many women are missing the point. I do want to preface this by saying that I am blessed to be a woman in the United States as opposed to having to live in a third world country. But, that doesn’t mean that things are perfect and equitable in this country. Far from it. Women should support other women…not bash them. Sometimes I think we struggle not from restrictions from men…but from other women. Regardless…let me remind you of what it was like in the not so distant past.
1. When my parents separated in 1967, my father sold their home and pocketed the profit. He had signed my mother’s name to all the paperwork. And, it was totally legal! This was after he had refinanced that same home…also without her signature or knowledge.
2. Even though they were married for almost 20 years, my mother did not have a vested interest in my father’s substantial pension from Teamsters.
3. When I divorced in 1974, I had a ‘zero’ credit rating even though I had been the one to make regular payments on all of our JOINT bills. I had to jump through a whole ton of hoops just to get a $100 credit line from Sears.
4. Until the 1980’s when women filled out job applications you had to complete a portion for “Women Only” which asked…when you started having periods, were they regular, how long they lasted, and if you ever would need to take off work because of them.
5. Sexual harassment in the workplace was commonplace…and you had nowhere to go to complain. Most of us developed skills to avoid uncomfortable situations…but it was just considered a necessary risk if you wanted OR NEEDED to work outside the home.
6. Men were paid more because ‘they had to support a family”. I was told this by a boss in 1977…even though he knew I was a single mother supporting a daughter.
All these issues have been changed for the positive because many women (and men) banded together and demanded change. The rights that many women take for granted today do so because of the women who walked before them.
And, the results of these changes helped men as well. When I was divorced, it was rare that men would get shared custody of their children…let alone full custody. It was assumed that children belonged with their mother…regardless of whether or not she was fit. I will be honest…I personally didn’t want to even share custody of my daughter. I was glad that it wouldn’t even be seriously considered by any judge. But, that doesn’t mean it was right or fair. In addition, when it was determined that wives would be entitled to a portion of any pension a man earned…it also meant that men have the exact same right. We still have inequity with regard to military service. Our sons still need to register when they turn 18…but our daughters are exempt. Why? Are our son’s lives of less value than our daughter’s? I don’t think so. (As an aside…I do think we should allow public service as an acceptable option to military service.)
There is room for improvement and we absolutely don’t want to go backward. The glass ceiling is very real. Are women getting closer to breaking it…absolutely!!
The main purpose of the walk was to show ALL elected officials that women throughout the country were watching them. And, that they were a large united group with concerns that our rights were in jeopardy. And it was a unified voice on many other’s issues as well…black lives and the LGBT community to name just two. Yes, there were some radical groups within. I don’t think using foul language helps with the message at all. I do NOT agree with every issue presented. But, I certainly agree with most of them. And, I want to stress that like those women who didn’t understand why women walked on Saturday, there were many women in the 60’s/70’s/80’s who didn’t want anything changed either. Yet, they certainly enjoyed the benefits of that change.
Women cannot seem to unite. We cannot seem to recognize that we may not agree on everything…but we can agree to support each other on those things on which we do agree.
No, I didn’t walk on Saturday because I was home with my husband who had shoulder surgery the day before. However, I walked in spirit.
And, for those who don’t get the ‘pussy’ hats that women wore…it was done with sarcasm to show that if you call women by names…we will show you that we have strength regardless of how you perceive us.