Ladies, it’s our Anniversary!


On August 26, 1920, the 19thAmendment granting women the right to vote, became law.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”  

When American women were first trying to get the vote, men believed it was inappropriate for women to vote and provided a variety of “reasons”.  In 1915, writer Alice Duer Miller countered the ridiculous arguments of anti-suffrage men with humor:

Why We Don’t Want Men to Vote

  • Because man’s place is in the army.
  • Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.
  • Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to them.
  • Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms, and drums.
  • Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them unfit for government.

The true ridiculousness of the fight is clear in the view of hindsight — during World War I, when able-bodied men were fighting in Europe, it was women who took their place in factories and kept this country moving, providing support and arms to our fighting men.  Yet still, these brave, hard-working women could not vote.  President Woodrow Wilson recognized the disparity, and in a speech on September 18, 1918, he said,

“We have made partners of the women in this war. Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of right?”

According to the website AmericanCivilWar.com, “the National American Woman Suffrage Association’s (NAWSA) Congressional Committee and the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU) worked together to try to get women in America the vote.  In 1917, the CU formed the National Woman’s Party (NWP).

 

HowLOngMustWomenWait

Photograph of Alison Turnbull Hopkins with banner, “Mr. President How long must women wait for liberty,” picketing for suffrage outside White House gate. Photograph published in The Suffragist, 5, no. 56 (Feb. 7, 1917): 4. Caption reads: “New Jersey Day: Mrs. J.A.H. Hopkins heading the line”. Photograph illustration in story “Fourth Week of the White House Guard.”

In January 1917 the CU and NWP began to picket the White House. The government’s initial tolerance gave way after the United States entered World War I. Beginning in June 1917, suffrage protesters were arrested, imprisoned, and often force-fed when they went on hunger strikes to protest being denied political prisoner status.

The National Woman’s Party militant tactics and steadfast lobbying, coupled with public support for imprisoned suffragists, forced President Woodrow Wilson to endorse a federal woman suffrage amendment in 1918. Congress passed the measure in 1919, and the NWP began campaigning for state ratification. Shortly after Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify women’s suffrage, the 19th Amendment was signed into law on August 26, 1920.”

 

 

I am bringing this up today not only to celebrate the 94th Anniversary of this wonderful Amendment, but also to make a point to every woman out there in the United States:

A mid-term election is coming up in November.  I don’t know who you support in the election, or what party you are involved with, or if you have ever voted before, and it really doesn’t matter.  What DOES matter is this:

 

A lot of women worked very hard for a long time to give you the right to vote this November.

 

You owe it to them, as well as to you, your generation, and the next generation to come, to exercise that right.  Vote for your granddaughters and your great-granddaughters, and they will one day have what we have yet to win:  True Equality.

 

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Where There is a Woman


 

 

 

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“Where there is a woman, there is magic.”     —-Ntozake Shange

One of the most famous magical textbooks is The Key of Solomon the King. Like the quest for the Holy Grail, the search for Solomon’s secret manuscript containing his spells, invocations, talismans, formulas, diagrams, and rituals has tantalized and tortured practitioners of the esoteric arts—-from alchemists to mathematicians—for centuries. The thought of what he could do with Solomon’s jottings kept Sir Issac Newton up at night; nonetheless he managed to accomplish quite a bit on his own during the day. That is because Newton, considered the modern world’s first and greatest scientist, was also a passionate mystic and one of the world’s last and greatest magicians.

Michael White tells us in his biography, Issac Newton: The Last Sorcerer that he was not the pure scientist of lore. Unknown to all but a few people, he was a mystic, an alchemist and he dabbled in the occult. He did not discover gravity by watching an apple fall—in reality, Newton’s great theories were grasped within the charred base of the crucible and the alchemist’s fire. Nor was Newton the idealistic puritan he has been portrayed to be. He risked his health in his unrelenting search for an understanding of the Universe.  He studied the Bible for divination and not dogma, he practiced natural magic, he studied astrology and numerology when he conducted mathematical experiments.

Newton did not live a very happy life, because he had to present himself to the world as a pure scientist. His discoveries and revelations would not have been believed otherwise.  He feared having his scientific contributions discredited and his work amounting to nothing. He feared damage to the intellectual alchemy that transformed mankind’s view of the Universe and our place in it.

So Newton hid a large part of himself to be accepted by society and the church. Women today often have to face the same pressures and the same inability to be real to the world. How often do you play like you have no real opinions because friends do not want to hear them? How often do women ignore there gifts and accomplishments? Not only ignore but play them down. Women ask themselves if they are really worthy of being called intelligent, gorgeous, talented. In truth, each of us women are a child of the Universe. We are the child of The One. When women play “small” we are not helping the Universe. When a woman shrinks into the shadows she is not being enlightened. Men have always stood up proud and loudly proclaimed their accomplishments. Each man and woman has gifts from The One that we are to give from the world. Don’t hide, use what you have been given to help the world. Shine your light and give the world the benefits of the gifts you have been given to share.

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Remember that as women we are not less than. Women have accomplished much in the world but have felt they have to hide it.  So whatever your gift, even the ability to spread the magic in the world or to sing and bring tears to someone’s eyes. Magic is simply the ability to use the energy that flows around us here on our planet and throughout the Universe. Open up to all that you can find in the Universe. And share it with all the other people you meet in your life.

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       Be the magic in the world!

 

 

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God’s Children Include Women


Women can not be equal without legally being equal.

Women can not be equal without legally being equal.

Our world is living within a horrible hangover. In most religious communities there is something leftover from the past. It is the subordination and subjugation of women. We are striving to live in a world very different from that of our ancestors. Now this has been a cultural earthquake. Many people from different cultures are grasping to hold on, to hold on to their version of the past.  They want the past to remain immovable.  There are people who are even coerced into sexism.

The Vatican has tried to do this with Catholic nuns. American Catholic bishops consult with women to try to make them not use contraceptions. Without adequate contraceptives the size of families becomes too large to give each child the education they need to be productive members of our world.

In Israel, some state-supported Orthodox people have used physical violence. Groups of Jewish women have been praying as a group, chanting and wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall. Jewish traditions see the Wall as the refuge of Shechinah, the Feminine Indwelling Immanent aspect of God, after the destruction of the nearby Temple.

This war on women

This war on women

We are moving into a new world, given us by God. Women and men are learning the difficult practice of dancing in God’s earthquake. Men and women need to resist the subjugation of women. Women who have tried to pray at the Western Wall are being mishandled and forced to leave the Wall because it is holy and women have no right to pray there.

In other countries, women are still participating in genital mutilation. Female midwives with the cooperation of mothers, will perform a clitorectomy and cut out the clitoris. This makes sure the child will never enjoy sex when she grows up. In some countries, the vagina is sown up to prevent her from having sex with a different man while her husband is away on business. A girl who has not had this done will not be able to marry. No one will want her. These procedures are done without anesthesia or pain medication.  These procedures make child birth more dangerous. I don’t know about everyone else but this makes me want to throw up.

Women are equal and deserve to receive equal pay for equal work. They deserve equal recognition for their work. They also deserve promotions when their work equals that of a male co-worker.

Two thirds of females in the world are illiterate.

Two thirds of females in the world are illiterate.

The majority of women in the world are considered so insignificant that it is felt they are not worth educating. They stay at home while brothers go off to schools to learn to do math and to read. This is why Oprah’s schools for girls are so important. Knowing someone believes in them helps them to believe in themselves. They know, when they are grown up they will be able to get a job in a city and save money to help their families.

God did not make a mistake when he created Eve, if you accept the story. Eve was not a secondary creation.  I think that if there was a serpent and he talked Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, then she made a choice. Adam also made a choice. When she offered the apple to Adam, he could have said no. He was responsible for his choice not to say no. Eve was not at fault. Women don’t have to carry that guilt. There is also a legend in Judiasm that Lillith was created to be Adam’s partner and she lived with him in equality. Adam complained to God and he got Eve instead.

Whatever you believe, women are equal. All human beings are equal. Where inequality remains, we will squelch it and make sure everyone is equal. Teach your daughters to be confident in themselves and your sons to respect women.

Betty is a feminist to help women receive equality

Betty Freidan is a feminist and writer who worked to help women receive equality

The Lives of Women


No matter how old you are, walk your truth

A woman writes herself a life each day as she moves in the now. Virginia Woolf said that only women stirred her imagination. I would add only women have moved me to action and power. If I would write my life it would be to try to protect other women from tragedy and abuse and grief. It would be to say my complete truth without fear of consequences.

Often in literature and in every day life, women’s every day life, our friendships are belittled, and misunderstood. Yet, as women, friendships enliven us, fill us up and give us a way out of lonely grief.

” Affection…means the state of influencing, acting upon, moving, and impressing, and of being influenced by other women.”—-Janice Raymond

Audra Lorde once stated, ” I speak without concern for the accusations
that I am too much or too little woman
that I am too black or too white
or too much myself
and through my lips come the voices of the ghosts
of our ancestors
living and moving among us.”

“To justify an unorthodox life by writing about it is to re-inscribe the original violation, to re-violate masculine turf.” —Nancy K. Miller

Celebration of being a woman

Celebration of our lives as women

Why I Remain a Feminist


Quote from Maya Angelou

Quote from Maya Angelou

I initially became a feminist because of books. I was taking some continuing education classes in nursing. One book I had to read discussed the “The Burning Times.” These were in the good old days when women were midwives. Men felt that taking care of sick people was beneath them. Midwives got paid in a pie, some vegetables, some homemade bread. They were also more than expert in herbs and healing plants. Because of the nature of such a woman, she often enjoyed gentle relationships with the animals around her cabin or home.

There were a few men who exhibited the same gifts. Today we would call them feminist men. I am sure everyone knows some. The Church, in those days found it hard to handle midwives and healing women.

We are looking at the time in history of the Spanish Inquisition. Protestants had to confess after torture, Jews fled to present-day Europe and the Ottoman empire. Special priests were sent out to root out and to kill the blasphemers who said they could heal. As time went on, village after village suffered through “witch trials.” Many good and caring women went to their deaths because they were deemed witches. Children had no protection from these accusations. They often would be tortured and would speak the name of someone they knew. They would call someone a witch, just to get the pain to end.

It is said that over 2 million women were murdered for being witches.  This was also a holocaust. At this time, midwives went underground and men began to look to medicine as a way to make a living. So men suddenly had good reason to ensure that no healing women or witches were in their communities. Much information about the healing effects of herbs was lost for a very long time.

I was interested in what I was reading and took more books out of the library. I couldn’t stop reading and thinking about these women. There is an article you might be interested in reading called “Witches, Midwives and Nurses”, by B. Ehrenreich and D English.. It can be found at .www.blancmange.net/tmh/articles/witches.html.

To this day women’s medical practice has thrived in the midst of rebellious lower class movements. These witch hunts for the midwives did not stop these healing and caring women,, but the midwives where often branded as superstitious and possibly malevolent.

I read all this, and another feminist was born. I got involved with other concerned women in my community and we tried to assess women’s needs in our community. What we discovered was that women were being abused in their homes. So we started a shelter for abused women. We had no money, but we got a rundown old house in a bad neighborhood and the Jewish, Protestant and Catholic women worked long and hard to save these battered women and their children. Some of the Catholic women were nuns and I remember that we all “planted” a penny in the tree lawn of that house and the nuns prayed for the women and children who would be saved. Today that shelter, started in the 1970’s has a budget of nearly a million dollars a year. I am still a feminist because they need every penny of that budget to continue to protect the women and kids.

Children are also beaten

Children are also beaten

This may be happening to someone you know...like your sister, your cousin, the neighbor, your minister's wife, or the wife of that nice young family who always comes to church.

This may be happening to someone you know…like your sister, your cousin, the neighbor, your minister’s wife, or the wife of that nice young family who always comes to church.

As our society becomes more violent, with mass shootings and other community violence, Domestic Violence is not shrinking. Nearly forty years after domestic violence shelters and programs were established in this country, we are still taking pictures of injuries, advocating for abused women in court and hiding them until they and their children can get safely away from the abuser. Oh, I must not forget to tell you that more women are killed trying to get out than at any other time in the battering relationship.

This is the number one reason I am still a feminist, however it isn’t the only reason.  I am concerned that women are not legally equal, and do not get paid the same as a man for the same work.  And so, I fight on.

Together we can gain our legal equality. Together we can take care of each other. Together we can become equal partners.  Together we might just add some peace to the world.

You can't beat a woman!

You can’t beat a woman!

Please remember the extreme danger many women are in and talk to the young women and girls. It isn't their fault. They were victims.

Please remember the extreme danger many women are in and talk to the young women and girls. It isn’t their fault. They were victims.

One of my Sheroes…Adrienne Rich


Adriene Rich

Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich is a prolific writer. She has written prose, poems, and feminist thoughts. One of my favorites is Twenty-one love poems. One of her feminist pieces is Of Woman Born. It was originally printed in 1977 but remains relative to the lives of women now,  in 2013. When she began to write on this subject she had become aware of the new politicization of women. We were in the middle in of the second Feminist Movement. One subject not addressed was women as mothers.

The devaluation of women spurred her on to write and examine women’s lives; even mothers. The Women’s Movement has had detractors but we really did want to work to raise the value of women; whether she was an at-home mom or she was in the work force. As the movement began, many women stayed home and when given the opportunity to go out into the work world, chose it instead. Some women did both. The media put much pressure on women to be “super women.” This was not the intention of the movement. We simply wanted women to have a  choice and the right to make the choices that were the best for her. Therefore, this book is an exercise in examining motherhood for all women and also for Adrienne. Maternity deserved to be examined. It is an American institution.

There were attempts to show the patriarchy the value of women in the work place and well as in the home. Equal pay for equal work came into the light and also the value of the work women did in the home was also spotlighted. Every woman has a job description and a monetary value was given to each job task she performed. When all was said and done, most at home wives and mothers couldn’t be afforded by their husbands except for the very well-to-do.

Rich brought into the light the fact that women are as intrinsically human as any man.  The ability to control her reproductive health is vital for women to be equal. This is why it goads so many non-feminist citizens. Most work on this planet is done by women. In all countries, women have the children, feed them, raise and clothe them. They work in factories and sweatshops, clean the house and make coffee in the office. Procreative choice is as important as a legally limited work day.

All human life on the planet is born of women. Being born is the one unifying, incontrovertible experience that men and women share. Young human beings spend more years needing the nurturing of a mother  than other mammals.  Some sociologists believe that part of the discrimination against women is the discomfort many men feel knowing they were dependent on a woman for nine months. Rich raised three sons and was married. So I recommend that you look into Rich’s work and see what you think about what the Feminist author has to say.

Sketch of Adrienne Rich

Sketch of Adrienne Rich

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New Worlds

New Worlds


Our founding president, Gloria Steinem, is turning 79 on March 25th and there are 79 reasons why YOU should celebrate with us! Sign Gloria’s Birthday card here:http://forwomen.org/79reasons

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Gloria Steinem is my role model. She is a feminist and a woman who has given her life to women’ s issues and the problems we face each day in our lives. She was also the head of Ms. Magazine, which I read cover to cover every month. She has inspired and shared the work of changing the way society looks at women. Yes, it has been much worse, much worse.

I have had the privilege of meeting her and talking with her. So I am wishing Ms. Steinem a wonderful birthday and may you have many, many more. Those of us who were on the battle lines with you appreciate what you helped us to do! May it be the best of years.