On Women's Equality Day Are We Celebrating the Right to Be Equally Screwed?

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

A coalition of women's organizations today launched a campaign in support of women's health and economic rights through voting, HERvotes. They also started a blog carnival, in honor of their new organization and the 91st anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. For those who aren't constitutional geeks, that's the one that gave women the right to vote.

Of course, I agree with their desire for legal protection for pregnant women. (Heck, it's something I've started thinking about personally.) And I agree that all citizens should vote like their life depends on it.

But when I think about the idea of women's equality in this country, I really can't find the energy to believe in the celebration. I get that Bella Abzug wanted us to use the day to call "attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality."

Here's my problem: what does it mean to work towards women's equality in a society dedicated to denigrating the lives of all workers, regardless of gender? In a country that cares more about corporate profits than human needs, how can I focus solely on women's rights?

To be clear, I am a feminist. I believe that only through women's equal participation in decision-making processes can we find real solutions to the world's problems. I know that many of the problems this country faces are due to the lack of women in positions of power, including our woefully inadequate representation in the Congress, not to mention the fact that there's never been a female president. My belief in the need for equal representation for women does not diminish my understanding of the need to make space for transgender people in our cisgender world.

But I'm that odd duck in feminist circles. I've always done my activism through women's organizations (before joining the staff of CODEPINK, I was a leader of  Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, an organization whose origins are deeply tied to the suffragist movement). Yet, I find it difficult to focus solely on American women's issues. After all, we're all being screwed by the war profiteers, corporatocracy, and unrepresentative politicians. It's not like my health and economic rights are being diminished at a faster rater than the man next to me.

So tonight, as I welcome in the Shabbos bride, I'll raise a glass to women's equality. But my focus will remain engaging all people, regardless of gender identity, in developing cultural responses to a decade of war and fear through CODEPINK's Create, Not Hate project.

Will you join me in building the movement to create a new world?










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