Women’s Equality Day Open Thread

Today is Women’s Equality Day, marking the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote. Ninety-three years later, women in the United States have more rights than ever before, but are still a long way away from true equality with men. The feminist movement has never directed all its energy at a single issue (nor should it), but if you could set the agenda, where would you focus feminist efforts for the next several decades?

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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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29 Responses to Women’s Equality Day Open Thread

  1. Aimee says:

    In the US, we MUST get the other 15 states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment so this can be officially passed. It is dumbfounding to me that only 35 states have ratified this since it came up in the 1970’s. We need to start out with this basic foundation of respect for women in order to get anything else implemented.

    • amblingalong says:

      Unfortunately, we’d need to reintroduce and then re-pass the ERA in 38 states; the 35 states which ratified before 1982 don’t count any more.

      Incidentally, I’m wondering if people want the ERA for policy reasons, or purely symbolic ones (not that I’m against the latter- symbols are important). I can’t think of any direct changes passage would cause.

      • amblingalong says:

        Unfortunately, we’d need to reintroduce and then re-pass the ERA in 38 states; the 35 states which ratified before 1982 don’t count any more.

        (Though to be fair that’s a matter of some debate among constitutional experts).

      • TomSims says:

        [Moderator note: cutting and pasting content from another website (including the navigation menu links wtf) without blockquoting it or including a link to that website or any explanation of how the content is relevant? This is unacceptable content in any comment. Make your point with a short summary and/or quote, then add a link to the site to support your summary/citation.]

      • TomSims says:

        The 15 states that did not ratify ERA are as follows;

        North Carolina
        South Carolina

        I ‘m not surprised to see states from the old South in that list but am surprised to see Illinois listed.

  2. Anna says:

    Yes. I want the Equal Rights Amendment and ratification of CEDAW.

  3. Bagelsan says:

    It seems obvious, but it bears repeating: make feminism less of a privileged white ladies’ club. If someone says “feminist” and the first image that pops into your head is some pasty-white upper-middle-class American who got her Master’s in Women’s Studies, I think that’s a bad sign that feminism is not appealing widely enough to its target audience, nor is it considered accessible to women who maybe can’t afford a graduate degree and who maybe don’t need SPF 100 sunblock.

    • miga says:

      This. Most of my frustration and burnout comes from the lack of intersectionality that feminism (and many other progressive causes) has.

    • Echo Zen says:

      Isn’t third-wave feminism supposed to be intersectional enough to reflect the needs of people outside the white, professional second-wave model? Or is third-wave still primarily a social media / Tumblr phenomena? Professionally I’ve seen the movement becoming younger, browner and more LGBT (i.e. the GOP’s worst nightmare), which seems pretty third-wave to me…?

      • Bagelsan says:

        I think “supposed to be” is the operative phrase, there. As evidenced by the most recent racist meltdown the 3rd wave is still nowhere near as equal as it may purport to be, so it wouldn’t be serving most women even if it did have the kind of off-line reach I’d like to see it have.

      • Faradn says:

        Which racist meltdown?

      • Lolagirl says:

        Which racist meltdown?

        If you’re serious, go back to the main page of Feministe and scroll down a few articles. And then google #solidarityisforwhitewomen, and read up some more.

        I agree with Bagelsan completely that while 3rd Wave Feminism was supposed to be intersectional and extend the reach of Feminism beyond white, college-educated women it has pretty handily failed at that goal. And Feministe has also fallen prey to that pitfall plenty of times in the past. Much work needs to be done if Feminism wants to be taken seriously as a school of thought meant to support and raise up all women, regardless of their race, background, SES, education level, etc.

      • Buttered Lilies says:

        Didn’t the third wave start like twenty years ago, right around when Rebecca Walker said “I am the Third Wave”? (Are we really even in the third wave still, or is social media basically creating a new forth wave?)

    • AC says:

      I agree with this, but can it be phrased in a way that doesn’t include the body shaming of skin-cancer-prone people?

    • Tony says:

      Part of the issue is how feminism is presented as Western-centric; a phenomenon within Western culture. The whole line from Wollenstonecraft down to Hillary Clinton speaks to this- which is great and necessary as far as it goes. However, I’ve been thinking about this and recently I’ve been realizing that it’s a lot easier to get a WOC face of feminism if we stop assuming that everything we do exists within Western culture. I mean there are cultures in the US that are not ‘Western’ in the sense that Western means from Plato to postmodernism. I would say most WOC and POC histories in Western countries are not strictly Western in that sense. They begin from a different place. And in I think we also need to start separating out the notion of modern culture from Western culture. Within Western culture, the problem for inclusion is that once again, feminism’s image (what Bagelsan was saying) is a narrative based on a history and like the link tig tog posted with the beans, it’s already full of women who are critical and amazing- but also representative of white hegemony. Trying to fit WOC within this narrative, even if we totally succeed its only going to come in the last chapter. However, WOC ( and POC) have their own stories only they fall outside of the standard Western narrative. To the extent that we see these stories it is usually only in tokenized form.

      De emphasizing the Western narrative as the sole one would also have the advantage, I think, of emphasizing the global nature of women’s needs for the 6/7 of the world population that does not live in “the West” and where the need for some feminist presence is frankly stronger most of the time than in the West.

    • Bagelsan says:

      Oh, look, perfect example: I wouldn’t be surprised if Miley Cyrus thought she was being “feminist”/”empowered” by being overtly sexual with another body on stage… ignoring the fact that she reduced a fellow woman to “another body”, which shouldn’t fit in anyone’s definition of feminist or empowered.

      I don’t know how Cyrus would identify her actions (the motorboat, etc.) on the feminist-to-sexist continuum, but I think that feminism should be at a point where she knows it isn’t feminist to use a faceless black woman’s body for entertainment and profit. And I think feminism is not there yet, because there’s still this huge blind spot around women of color, and what agency they should have with respect to white women.

  4. birdie says:

    Violence against women, careers in the three Ps (philosopher, priest, physicist) and enforcement of discriminatioon law.

  5. I think VIDA has made a good start in calling attention to the massive gender disparity in book reviewing and publishing; the sense that although women make up a majority of book readers, they are underrepresented in review / media coverage as well as at the top of many editorial and cultural positions of power. There may well be many more pressing issues, but this one is close to my field, as it were.

  6. More than 40 years after women’s liberation movement stormed onto the scene opening a floodgate of dialogue about women’s rights, its deja vu all over again as women are still being moved around like pawns in a political arena. For decades women have consumed an abundant of conflicting and confining images about our role in the world. For an intriguing look at a visual smorgasbord of mid century female stereotypes that littered a pop culture landscape that eventually erupted in a women’s movement please view http://envisioningtheamericandream.com/2013/08/26/womens-equality-day/

  7. xenu01 says:

    Actually, in light of recent upsets to voting rights, I think that would be a good start.

    Of course, there’s also an incredible need to focus on rapidly eroding reproductive rights.

  8. rox says:

    Yeah I agree with the platform matching the needs and ideology of middle to upper class, educated white women. Not that other demographics haven’t worked their way into using feminism but the goal sets have matched the ideal of the middle to upper earning working woman who is either college educated or had a privaledged and able minded/bodied skill set to work and succeed in a capitalistic competitive workplace.

    My goals don’t match this at all. I never understood the idea of shoving women into the model that I see men shoved into which I see as being regressive and focused on monetary success rather than on humanist or social success (Did the work help people? Did it make the world better? Does it actually reach the larger body of human beings or is it only a service for those with money to afford it?)

    Women don’t need to all share my personal goals, but I think I am not alone in wanting the ASSUMED goal sets many places that women should become more goal driven, more succesful, more competitive in the workplace, more educated in STEM/business fields– to not be in line with what I wish for humanity as a whole, which is that we actually find out each individuals interests/abilities/talents and help them develop their skills to provide benefit to those around them (which includs looking not only at their skill sets but what the needs of those around them are and how to combine the two to creat meaningful work).

    I want to see more of the reproductive justive movement in which we stop assuming the solution for under-educated women to avoid having poor children is more abortion/sterilization of low earning women rather than accessible family life and more part time work options for parents to actually spend time parenting and participate in society on a budget that matches minimum wage earning. I.e. it should go to say that should also inculde a living wage and family earning wage being part of the agendy since the majority of single parent homes are women and they are faced with working more hours than they want to work to survive, and often can’t get out of poverty no matter how much they work.

    More attention to differently abled women, women of color, women with intersectional issues (mentioned above) and creating a system that really allows each type of individual to flourish rather than trying to fit all women int STEM science/competitive business in order to deserver a living wage. “Women’s work” (child rearing, parenting, caregiving, etc) deserves a living wage and more attention to paying well for these services whether it’s a man or women doing them and access to resources to allow parents who WANT to do the child rearing to actually be there to do it, rather than pushing all parents out of the home to the workplace with the assumption this is morally better since nurturing and managing fmaily life isn’t a “real” contribution to society.

  9. anna says:

    I would also like to see strict scrutiny being required for gender/sex discrimination cases. Does anyone know, would this automatically be required if the ERA was passed?

    Oh, and the US needs to get paid matermity/ paternity leave and good cheap widely available childcare.

  10. Leslie says:

    And this.

    Eradicating slavery — child slavery, sex slavery, indentured servitude, forced marriage.

    All bodily integrity issues — domestic violence, rape, reproductive rights (including education, safe and free contraception, freedom from sterilization abuse), sane drug policy, freedom from psychiatric abuse.

    Separation of church and state.

  11. Despite the fact that women were on the front lines of the 1960s civil rights movement, the media continued to portray women as vapid housewives preoccupied with chasing dirt and debating the well worn topic of “ring around the collar”. For an illustrated look at this, visit http://wp.me/p2qifI-1Dn

    • trees says:

      Despite the fact that women were on the front lines of the 1960s civil rights movement, the media continued to portray women as vapid housewives preoccupied with chasing dirt and debating the well worn topic of “ring around the collar”. For an illustrated look at this, visit http://wp.me/p2qifI-1Dn

      A “white Wash” indeed. You pair the trope of middle class white housewife with predominately WOC Civil Rights era activists. Woman doesn’t equal middle-class white woman living in the ‘burbs.

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