I have been involved with the women’s movement since we tried to get ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1977. As a young girl, my passion for women and children’s rights was sparked as we witnessed and experienced lack of support and access to justice. My mother was a wife, mother of seven children, homemaker, and active member of the church. My mother’s life of sacrifice, love, and hard work was not given economic value or personal status. She had no economic, political or religious power. I was horrified by the lack of equality women and children faced.
Many of us have worked tirelessly for the last fifty years, and still, the barriers to equal protection under the law are but a distant dream for many women. 2017 has been a year when the light has been turned on as we peer into the shadows of the many aspects of misogyny. A new light is shining on the wounds of sexual harassment, women living in poverty, violence against women, the lack of women in politics and corporations, the epidemic of girl teen suicide and the disparity of women’s wages. These obstacles have moved from the margin of society into the mainstream.
Greater awareness of these barriers for women was seeded after the 2016 election and grew into a loud roar as we witnessed the January 2017 Women’s March on Washington DC. We have designated 2018 The Year of Women. We need a year for women to collectively focus on connecting, energizing, listening, and empowering them to action on local, national and global levels.
Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” are the “silence breakers.” Women who spoke out about sexual harassment and injustice that were heard. Women are experiencing their growing political and economic power through their votes and where they spend and invest their dollars. We move forward with great hope demanding action and justice with measurable results.