After the Washington march, I realized that many young women were totally satisfied with their lives right now. I will refer to this as their “status quo”. But first, an intensive course on women’s history and a reminder of the many marches and their influence.
There is one thing I want to emphasize, so I will be talking about women’s rights for more than a hundred years before 2017. The history of women has largely been excluded from textbooks in public schools.
You probably did not know that in the 1870s women could not own property, could not sign contracts, could not vote, file lawsuits, or have their own money. Under the roof of their father, it was he who had control and this control was passed on to their husband at the wedding. A woman who was fleeing because of domestic violence was expelled by law and returned with her husband because she was his property.
From the 1840s to the 1920s, women fought for the vote. The fight for the right to vote began almost 200 years ago. Attempts to vote in 1870 were rejected. The Supreme Court ruled against this in 1875. In 1916, Alice Paul formed the National Women’s Party. More than 200 women members were arrested, beaten and thrown into prison. Some have gone on hunger strikes and forced feeding.
In the 1960s, women fought for contraception. Margaret Sanger, a pioneer in the struggle for the woman’s right to birth control at a time when “it was illegal to talk about the subject,” was arrested several times for her publications and her New York City clinic.
Civil Rights Marches (1960s)
Once again, people were beaten, drowned, and hanged. Thanks to the media, there was more attention and the marches for these rights were more popular. After the Civil War, Amendments 14 and 15, passed in 1868 and 1878, granted citizenship and suffrage to blacks, but not to women. A suffrage amendment to the Federal Constitution has been introduced in Congress and has not been passed several times.
1972: Title IX is a historic federal civil law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in education. Title IX is not only about sport and it protects all students; the federal government threatened to stop aid to all public schools that had not corrected it.
1973: Roe vs. Wade makes abortion legal and safe. Women stopped dying from abortion. The government plans to stop funding for Planned Parenthood and tens of thousands of women will not only lose coverage of basic health care, but will no longer have access to contraception. This involves a lot more unwanted pregnancies and if Roe vs. Wade is overthrown, which seems likely with the appointment of a new Supreme Court judge by this administration, there will be more new women who will die because of abortions .
Marches for gay rights
Once again, people were beaten and killed, even by not participating in the marches, but simply because they were trying to live their lives as people of color before them. Finally, homosexuals got the right to marry and the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.
Now, we are 2017 and people are walking. The women, their husbands, the children and their father went to Washington, DC to march for women’s rights. There were people walking in 57 other countries around the world. They walked for women who always made less money than men for the same job, for Muslim women and their families who fear expulsion and to be sent back to the most dangerous places they are trying to do. to flee, for Mexican families living in fear of being expelled and separated from their children, and to sensitize women in other countries with little or no rights.
All the marches, all the rights for which women died, were for your “status quo” for the life you now have, which you take for granted. Know that all these rights that allow you to live the life you have can be erased with a stroke of a pen. Do not leave all those who died, who fought and who suffered in the shadows.
Guess what? The amendment on human rights has not been adopted. He won the two-thirds vote of the House of Representatives in October 1971. In March 1972, it was approved by the Senate and sent to states for ratification. It failed to secure 38, or three-fourths, ratification by states. It has not been put to a vote since.
Because of this rejection, gender equality, with the exception of the issue of the right to vote, is not protected by the Constitution. However, at the end of the 20th century, the federal government and all states passed a law protecting the rights of women. These protections are not amendments to the Constitution. They can also be erased with a pen stroke.
Do not be complacent and too comfortable with your life. Become aware of what has happened over the years, decades and centuries so that you can have this life. The women fought and died.