"All my life, I was told that men and women were equal—so equal, in fact, that it wasn't even worthy of discussion. Like most of my friends, I outpaced my brothers and many of my male peers by a landslide in school, and took on extracurricular activities by the handful. I'd had it ingrained in me that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. And I did, without ever embracing the fabled F word, or even learning about it in school.
"So for all the talk about feminism as passe, mine wasn't a generation that rejected it for its militant, man-hating connotation—but because of its success. Women were equal—duh—so why did we need feminism?
"It's only recently that I, and women my age, have come to eat those words."
In 1970, 46 women filed a landmark gender-discrimination case; their employer was NEWSWEEK. Forty years later, their contemporary counterparts question how much has actually changed.
Forty years after NEWSWEEK's women rose up, there's no denying our cohort of young women is unlike even the half-generation before us.
Yet the more we talked to our friends and colleagues, the more we heard the same stories of disillusionment, regardless of profession. No one would dare say today that "women don't write here," as the NEWSWEEK women were told 40 years ago. But men wrote all but six of NEWSWEEK's 49 cover stories last year—and two of those used the headline "The Thinking Man." In 1970, 25 percent of NEWSWEEK's editorial masthead was female; today that number is 39 percent. Better? Yes. But it's hardly equality. (Overall, 49 percent of the entire company, the business and editorial sides, is female.) "Contemporary young women enter the workplace full of enthusiasm, only to see their hopes dashed," says historian Barbara J. Berg. "Because for the first time they're slammed up against gender bias."
Susan Stryker is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. She earned her Ph.D. in United States History at UC Berkeley in 1992, and subsequently held a postdoctoral fellowship in Sexuality Studies at Stanford University, as well as distinguished visiting positions at Harvard University, UC Santa Cruz, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and Macquarie University in Sydney. She is the Emmy Award-winning director of Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, a public television documentary about a 1966 riot against police oppression by transgender prostitutes in San Francisco.
Angela Y. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. She has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer. Davis served as the keynote speaker for the 2009 National Women's Studies Association's annual conference where she honored Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D., NWSA President & Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Womens Studies at Spelman College.
The National Council for Research on Women harnesses the resources of its network to ensure fully informed debate, policies, and practices to build a more inclusive and equitable world for women and girls. And we take that last part seriously. Girls cannot be left out of the equation. They are an important part of our movement for social change. As Chris Grumm, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, recently said at NCRW’s afternoon program, the bifurcation between women and girls in our movement is unhelpful, dangerous, and may be holding us back. Recent research and advocacy by our member centers clearly demonstrates the importance of keeping girl’s voices and concerns front and center.
Jane Roberts, the woman behind 34 million friends of UNFPA, gave a special interview on Chicago Public Radio for International Women's Day. "Gender inequality is the moral scourge of the age," said Roberts. Due to gendercide, sex-selective abortion, and other human rights atrocities, there are 100 million missing girls in the world. To listen to the interview, click here. As Roberts said, "when the world takes care of women, women take care of the world." I think that's something we can all get behind!
After decades of marches, boycotts, lobbying and rallies, did the protests of the past 40 years really make a difference? Do protests still work? Can women still advocate change through social activism?
Submitted by kpeterson on Fri, 02/26/2010 - 1:15pm
Women’s choices appear to emphasize child welfare more than those of men. This paper presents new evidence on how suffrage rights for American women helped children to benefit from the scientific breakthroughs of the bacteriological revolution.