Monday, February 5, 2018

It's TIME!

It's impossible to ignore how stories about women have been taking over our daily
conversations.  2017 began with the Women's March on Washington.  That was followed by determination and commitment when thousands of women not only registered to vote but began filling out paperwork to run for elective office. The momentum had begun!

Then one day, one woman, fed up with men like film mogul Harvey Weinstein who had been preying on women for years, said Enough!  She went public. The reaction to her story was noticeably different than how women with similar stories had been treated in the past. She was soon followed by a tidal wave of women across every profession who bravely told their stories of sexual harassment in the workplace. It spawned a movement called #MeToo when women realized they were not alone. Though the media covered the military, capitol hill, entertainment, technology, and medicine, the greatest numbers of sexual assaults were in the under-reported industries of hotel and food services, retail and manufacturing. Those women, unheard by the press, came out in the millions to declare: #MeToo.

Merriam-Webster (the dictionary people) announced the word "Feminism" was 2017's Word
of the Year
.  This followed on the heels of Time Magazine naming "The Silence Breakers" as their Person of the Year.  Those headlines and magazine covers were the RESULT of what had been simmering on the back burners of women's collective consciousness.  Women got over their fears of retribution and career stifling by bringing down an A-List of predators in every industry.  It's been a wake up call not only for women but also for decent men.  

There was a time when the word "Feminism" or "Feminist" came with hostility. Seeing it named Word of the Year was gratifying.  But I had a touch of sadness and melancholy that all the work done by an endless stream of women who came before, might be forgotten.  I remembered the Anita Hill hearings in 1991 when a black University Professor was vilified by a panel of all white men. Women rose up in anger after Anita Hill's treatment and ran for office. 

During the Presidential Debates that year Vice-Presidential candidate George H. Bush (who today is on the list of accused sexual harassers) was asked about women in the Senate.  He said, "Let's see how they do. I hope a lot of them lose."  Voters ignored his comments because the following year, known as The Year of the Woman, five women were seated in the Senate. Today, 25 years later, there are 21 women in the 100-body Senate and more waiting to break down the door.

Cycles repeat themselves. Anita Hill's story lives on in The Silence Breakers. These women
recognize that gender equality is an empowering movement who's time has come. It's found in the 
50/50 by 2030 UN decree asking governments around the world to make a national commitment to address the challenges that are holding back women and girls from reaching their full potential.  Will it succeed?  Yes, when more women get elected.  That will happen because Millennial women are no longer satisfied with the status quo.  They're in the workforce. They're running companies. They know their worth and their value. They vote and they've had enough!

The women's anthem of the 80's was a song called Sisters are Doing It For Themselves? The sisters of today are indeed doing it for themselves. They've linked arms across race, ethnicity and lifestyle to affect change in every culture. They are already changing the geo-political landscape. One of them will make Time Magazine's Person of the Year cover, a spot no woman has held by herself in 89 years. It's time, TIME! Women are not just in the room. They're at the table. It's Time!
                                                                                           Jo Mooy - February 2018

No comments: