A salute to the women of this world
Today is International Women’s Day, and that got me to thinking.
It got me to thinking about how women have always taken a back seat to men, since the beginning of time. Still not sure why because there is no logical basis for it, but to this very day, as enlightened as we want to think we are, women are still on the backburner.
It got me to thinking about all the women who’ve changed the course of history through protest, invention, or the written word. Much of this done in times when women weren’t allowed to have a voice at all and were openly discouraged or even prohibited from working outside of the home.
It got me to thinking about the fact that not too long ago women weren’t allowed to vote – in America I mean. Seriously people, it was on August 18th, 1920, that women gained the right to vote when Congress grudgingly passed the 19th Amendment. The bill had been introduced 22 years prior after 50 years of conversation. Think about that for a second – they fought for over 70 years to get the right to vote. A movement that outlived it’s founders. As someone once said, “we have people alive that are older than American Democracy.”
And we haven’t come that far, especially when you see it on a global scale. However you feel politically, morally, or spiritually about the state of a woman’s life and rights on this planet, we’re still largely run by men who largely get to decide what women get to do. Perspective: it was just in January of 2013 that women won the right to fight for their country in combat. A group of powerful, wealthy men finally let that happen.
But I digress. It got me to thinking about my mother and how I never realized what she must have wrestled with in life until I was an adult and, moreover, a parent. Not until it was too late did I even come close to grasping what she must have dealt with being the mother of 3 young boys to a Marine who was in combat in Vietnam. Hell, I get stressed when the internet goes out.
I got to thinking about Priscilla and Ava, and how much these two fabulous girls have changed my life. My wife possesses a strength that helped define me as who I am today. She never wants to take credit, but I would be nothing had we not met. And as with so many things in this world, I get the glory. While my daughter shows every sign of having inherited the strengths of her grandmothers and mother alike, I dread the thought that she will very likely have direct experiences in her life with sexism and the omnipresent compartmentalization of women. There is nothing out there that makes me believe in the next 20-30 years we’re going to have this sudden cathartic change in who we are, and that makes me sad for her.
It got me to thinking that it’s absurd that men have so earnestly coveted power through the millennia but we’ve done such a horrible job. As kids watching sci-fi movies we were led to believe that 2018 would be this time of unthinkable technology and unflinching selflessness. Instead we see ourselves destroying our environment, building walls, fighting years-long wars, and burying our children due to unprecedented gun violence in our schools.
Given the track record of men, two things surprise me, despite all the thinking that this got me doing. One, I’m surprised that women are still so poorly represented in politics and they don’t win elections every day. But two, more importantly, I’m really surprised that men haven’t been more ready to bail on the job. Women are smarter, are better debaters (and no that’s not sexist), and us men are habitual quitters anyway! To any men reading this: how many times in your life have you said, “screw this crap!” We quit all the time. How about we quit politics for a while and let women take the reins.
I’m not down on men. We’ve had our own burdens to bear, but they were all our own doing.
Nor am I waving a flag for women. I’m not trying to cheerlead because, quite frankly, you don’t need it. You know this truth more than anyone.
So that got me thinking. I’m thinking I’m looking forward to a time on this planet when all of this ignorance will be behind us. I think it would be cool if someone’s gender (and nationality, race, etc.) had no bearing on how they move through this world. The skeptic in me doesn’t believe this will happen in my lifetime, but the optimist in me got to thinking.
I’m thinking that I hope it happens during Ava’s lifetime. What a great day that would be.
Happy International Women’s Day to you women out there. Godspeed in your continued quest.