An 8th-grade class in Andover, Mass., was given an assignment to exonerate the very last Salem “witch” sentenced to be hanged in 1692. Elizabeth Johnson Jr. (E.J.J. to students), single at age 22, purposely pled guilty to charges because word had it that judges were more likely to waive the death penalty if a woman just confessed.
Thirteen-year-old Sarina Miller, one of the students, said she cares deeply about equal rights for everyone. “We corrected a past wrong by advocating for E.J.J.’s exoneration when she could not do it herself. People say those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it. Why can’t some middle-schoolers who changed history change the future, too?” – Sarina Miller, Washington Post
Women’s Equality Day 2022 is August 26, this year with the theme “Break the Bias.” Every year WED commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, 102 years ago on August 26, 1920. The date is a microphone to further push gender equality. And while we’re on the subject, only white women could vote in 1920. Women of color would wait until passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Both laws should be celebrated on August 26.
Tens of thousands of Black, white and discretely queer women fought for seven decades to advance the Suffragist Movement, whose aim was to win women the right to vote as full American citizens (pre-Civil War – 1920). Many incidents of brutality occurred along the way. Women’s rights are precious.
Three years after the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, suffragist leaders proposed legislation to ratify equal gender rights for women. Last year the 28th Amendment (ERA) had passed every qualification, but it is still unratified.
What do we say to the status of women’s gender equality in 2022? We’ve come a very long way and yet we’ve felt some seismic turbulence lately.
Whatever your political persuasion, it seems dangerous for mostly men (mostly anyone) to assume legal rights over a woman’s intimate relationship with her body, much less condemn a woman to prison for decisions relative to her own body functions.
Currently, a mother and her daughter from Omaha, Nebraska, are facing criminal charges for attempting an at-home abortion for the 17-year-old daughter. A Texas couple’s baby tried to emerge early at 20 weeks and the mother suffered bouts of bleeding, but doctors only performed surgeries to keep the fetus in the womb longer, fearing TX abortion laws. The child was stillborn.
Scientists have developed a new non-hormonal male contraceptive (pill) that effectively prevents conception in mice without adverse side effects. Human trials begin soon. In 2018 DMAU male birth control pills were approved as safe and men responded by saying they didn’t like the side effects or were worried about future sperm viability.
It would be nice to leverage the responsibility for preventing unwanted pregnancies between both sexes. Meanwhile, women’s online searches for (fallopian) tubal litigation, or permanent sterilization, have quadrupled in the short months following the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v Wade. One clinic
In 2022, women on average make $.82 to a man’s $1, one cent less than last year. Women of color often earn less and Asian women often earn more. In any case, there is a great need for workers in service industries and there are more women in the Entertainment industry than ever in history – directors, producers, writers. Women are chairing news empires and leading legislation, running hospitals and research trials, working on answers to curb climate change. Me Too has changed the way we live and work.
On the other hand, medical research studies for women are dismal compared to advancements in men’s healthcare. If breast and ovarian cancers were consigned to men, would there already be a cure? If men suffered menopause in the workplace, would there be major efforts to address it?
On Women’s Equality Day, the achievement we celebrate most is that women can lead and nurture all-at-once, with poise, resilience and perseverance, even on a grand scale. One day, maybe we will catch a break with universal childcare or see our salaries hiked for the brilliant contributions we make.
There is a lot one person can do to help advance women’s gender equity in the short- and long-term. Here are some actions you can take immediately:
- Stay in communication with your state and federal legislators about relevant issues as they arise. Look up their email addresses/phone nos. and save for handy reference.
- Lead by example by mentoring young women to strengthen their capacity to participate in politics. Contact Girls Inc.
- Help eliminate “Manager Divide,” an under-representation of women in manager positions, which coincides with the years women typically have children and also when the wage gap begins to widen. Contact OUTSMART.
- Support AAUW (American Association of University Women), leaders in the fight for fair pay and economic opportunity for women.