The other day, a friend had posted a list of a just few examples toward equal protection under the law which have been accomplished in under the past 60 years.
This got me to reflecting again upon some important women in my life and their realities at various stages in their life when they had to make a decision with limited options and constant discouragement from family, friends, colleagues, society.
The women who came immediately to my mind:
- My mother who grew up in the Sandhills of northwestern Nebraska, not only went to college in music in the mid 1960s, but also finished her degree (despite strong discouragement from others), married, built a career as a respected music educator and also as a multiple time elected president of her education association, earning a Master's degree all while raising her children.
- My late wife, about whom I had written much (you can find more in my Victim Impact Statement on my blog, which I read at the sentencing of her killer). Krista remains the smartest human being I have ever known and a most capable leader. She seized every opportunity, she was discounted and looked down upon all the way, but she earned her BAs in Anthropology and History, a Master's in Education, a PhD in Organization Development, worked full time as a respected Executive Leadership coach and Organization Development Consultant for Ameriprise before serving as Director of Organization Development and Learning for HCMC from 2011-til her death in 2017. No man was ever her equal or as capable in a Leadership role, yet often the insecure men (really, just stupid men) would put her down as if she were just a little girl. She and I raised our kids and we built our home (literally).
- And now I look at my 13 year old daughter, a softball slugger, swimmer, singer, bassoonist, dancer, martial artist, et al. and already more insightful than many adults I know. I want to ensure that she enjoys the same opportunities (AND more), that her mother enjoyed and that her grandmother's generation fought to ensure.
When certain people make superficial criticisms and memes of women who have overcome such prejudices (e.g. Pelosi and Rodham Clinton) I take it personally - because these people are insulting my mother, my late wife, me, and my daughter. - and really All Women who dare to Work Hard and Be Free.
So here is that list I mentioned at the start of this post - keep in mind in a number of States in our Union, these rights are not guaranteed or enforced:
- Being able to apply for any job, not just the ones advertised "for women,"
- Going to any college and majoring in any subject,
- Being able to have a career and children without facing criticism for doing both,
- Access to child care,
- Tax credits for child care,
- Competing in high school sports,
- Laws against spouse abuse and marital rape,
- Birth control pills,
- Terminating a pregnancy,
- No-fault divorce,
- Anti-discrimination laws,
- Family leave,
- Running for office and actually getting elected to important positions,
- Being able to wear pants to work
I turn 49 years old this month I have experienced all of those years as a woman. And like many women my age who are transgender, we grew up with the encouragement that girls can grow up to do and be whatever they want to be [* except for you, you still must pretend to be a boy while you pursue your dreams of being an astronaut, rock star, explorer, and mother] During the 2nd term of the previous administration we were finally getting our rights recognized, and under the first two years of the current administration, our rights have been the first to be eliminated.
So whenever I see someone whine about how white cis-gendered men don't have privilege , I think "Get the fck over yourself."