The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes. – Bella Abzug
Although it seems a little premature to celebrate Women’s Equality Day since gender equality has not yet been achieved, this day is a chance to recognize the great women who fought for the rights that all women enjoy today. To celebrate this occasion, I decided to do a little research about Bella Abzug, the incredible woman who is responsible for this national holiday.
Nicknamed “Battling Bella” for her strong personality and willingness to fight tirelessly for equality, Bella Abzug was a lawyer, congresswoman and feminist activist. After being denied admittance to Harvard because they did not accept women, she earned her law degree at Columbia. She went on to serve three terms as a Congresswoman for New York, a position that allowed her to advocate for women’s rights. She played an important role in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, Title IX and the Equal Credit Oppotunity Act, as well as the creation of this holiday.
Bella was known for her large hats and even larger personality. Her hats became an icon of the women’s liberation movement, but they were actually another one of Bella’s ways of fighting against patriarchal society. Bella explained, “I began wearing hats as a young lawyer because it helped me to establish my professional identity. Before that, whenever I was at a meeting, someone would ask me to get coffee”.
Photo of Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (left) and Anne Hidalgo (right) – Photo from Jezebel.com
For the first time in the city’s 2000 year history, Paris will have a female mayor in 2014! The two most prominent political parties have announced their candidates for the mayoral race, and both parties selected female politicians to represent their parties in this important election. These two women are not only vying for the highly respected position of mayor of Paris, but they are also battling it to for a place in history as the first female mayor of Paris. The significance of this election is not lost on candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who recognizes the profound impact that this election will have on women in french politics.
Being the first female mayor of Paris will be a big symbol and a very positive sign for women who wanted to go into politics but who daren’t go into it in the past. Paris is ready for such a change and I’m sure that France could one day elect a woman as president.
On August 18, 1920, ninety-three years ago today, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. This amendment stated,
“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”.
This landmark decision ended the 70 year fight for universal suffrage which began in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention. The amendment, drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, was proposed in 1878, but it was 41 years later that Congress finally submitted the amendment for ratification.
“I’m rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans who are being ignored”
In reality, Wendy Davis did much more than that – she stood up for women all across the country and proved that we will not sit idly by while state legislatures take away our constitutional rights. Wendy Davis is a democratic senator who spoke for 10 hours and 45 minutes on Monday to prevent the Texas state legislature from passing SB 537, a bill that would severely restrict abortion access. Her filibuster successfully prevented the legislature from approving the bill before their midnight deadline.
SB 537, if successful, would have severe consequences for women’s reproductive freedom. According to Pro-Choice Texas, this bill would ban all abortions after 20-weeks of pregnancy, one of the strictest restrictions in the country. Also, it would require that every abortion care facility comply with the standards of an “ambulatory surgical center”, an expensive requirement that would force all but five abortion clinics in the state of Texas to close. That means that some Texans would have to drive hundreds of miles to get to their nearest provider, a ridiculous and unnecessary burden.
President Obama was sworn into his second-term in the White House just four months ago, but the media is already speculating on possible candidates for the 2016 presidential race. Right now, there is one democrat who is on everyone’s list of potential front runners – Hillary Clinton. Could 2016 be the year that the United States finally elects a woman to its most powerful position? Some recent polls are indicating that a female commander-in-chief could be in our near future. I am hopeful and optimistic that 2016 will be a landmark election and the United States will finally join the list of nations with a female head of state.
Hillary Clinton already has strong support from her party; a Quinnipac poll of democrats reported that 65% said they would vote for Clinton if she decided to run in a presidential primary. It actually seems that American voters on both ends of the political spectrum are ready to elect a female president. A poll conducted by Emily’s List found that 86% of voters believe that America is ready to elect a female president, and 72% actually believe that it is likely to happen in the next election. This poll demonstrates a huge shift in thinking – Gallup has asked American voters every year if they would endorse a female candidate for president and as a nation, we were not always on board. In 1937, only 33% said that they would vote for a female candidate for president. Luckily, this percentage improved to 54% in 1958, 76% in 1978 and to 92% in 1999. It took a while, but the American people are finally recognizing women’s ability to succeed at all levels of government.