International Women’s Day 2016

To honor International Women’s Day, Good Millennial has compiled a list of ways to celebrate and get involved. All information is via International Women’s Day campaign – check their website for much more here. Start a conversation that matters today!

Find an event

You can find an event held today or this week anywhere in the world through this link! Get out and meet other incredible women in your area. Or you can hold your own event in your school or community!

Watch International Women’s Day videos

Groups around the world have made International Women’s Day videos to explain their support in helping to accelerate gender parity. You can also YouTube other important speeches by women, like Hillary Clinton’s famous “Women’s rights are human rights” speech at the fourth Women’s Conference in China in 1995.

Donate to a female-focused charity

If you are in the green giving mood this week, consider donating to a charity that directly supports women in your town or throughout the world. The International Women’s Day’s official charity is the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. We also love ZanaAfrica, a foundation that provides period supplies for girls who otherwise couldn’t do work or attend school while on their periods. A $40 donation provides four girls with supplies for A WHOLE YEAR.

Share your support on social media and with others

Use hashtags #InternationalWomensDay and #PledgeforParity to bring friends and loved ones to the celebration! Encourage them to continue to act and learn all year long.

Make the #PledgeforParity

Via this website, you can pledge to combat gender differences in your everyday life. Make sure you share the pledge with friends and start a conversation!

Read pledges from other global leaders

Read how CEOs, heads of state, and other leaders around the world are pledging to fight for female causes. Get inspired!

How are you honoring International Women’s Day? Share with us on the socials or in a comment below!

Tired of Giving In: Rosa Parks’ Refusal 60 Years Later

60 years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. We honor her courage, her commitment, and her strength. We thank Ms. Parks for helping put women on the front lines in the fight of civil rights and for sparking one of the most broad and effective acts of civil disobedience in the entire civil rights movement. Rochelle Riley, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, captures our gratitude well:

“There are lessons that came with bloodshed and tears that we must never lose. And many of those lessons can be found in the lives of the leaders who did what they had to do so we can do what we want to do.”

When researching for this piece, I became equally inspired and disheartened. Inspired, because the stories of Rosa Parks and many other African American women working for civil rights touched me and encouraged me, seeing how far we have come and how much these women did to make my world better than their own. But I quickly became disheartened, seeing the stark similarities between the fights going on today in Ferguson, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, and all over our country, and the ones that went on in Montgomery or Little Rock exactly 60 years ago. How could we see so much time pass, see so many people die, and still have so much work left to do?

But I was also struck by Ms. Park’s determination. When she was asked to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus, she probably felt a great deal more than disheartened. But she continued on. She was “tired, tired of giving in.” And her potentially small act of rebellion, her small act of not giving in, sparked something much bigger.

While Rosa Parks is probably one of the most recognized women in the civil rights movement, her story is often simplified for history books and social studies lessons. Plus the impact of not giving up a seat on a bus doesn’t hit as hard today as it did many years ago. In my research, I found a great post from a blog called Feminist Activism, which detailed some great information on Ms. Parks you probably didn’t learn in class. I will leave you with their call to action, which sums up my feelings exactly:

“It is your duty now, today, to honor Parks and other activists like her who have dedicated, and in some cases given, their lives in the fight for equality. Analyze, strategize and act to create equality. And do it with love.”

 

Happy Birthday, Louisa May Alcott!

I remember picking up a well-worn copy of Little Women when I was nine years old. I remember being enchanted with Jo’s story, running up to my room to write and play, eventually reading the book so veraciously the cover came off in my hands.

Many years and countless readings later, I consider myself an extreme fan of everything March. This extreme fandom includes an annual holiday viewing of the 1994 film adaptation (Susan Sarandon as Marmee, Winona Ryder as Jo, CHRISTIAN BALE AS LAURIE COME ON PEOPLE) during which I quote every line through tears of joy/sadness.

[“THEY’RE NOT EMPTY NOW” – Jo, and also me, quietly sobbing on the couch.]

 

Being a Little Women connoisseur also means I fangirl over the novel’s author, the fascinating Louisa May Alcott. A lovely writer, a fierce and ferocious feminist, and an inspiring historical figure, LMA was a force to be reckoned with.

Today we celebrate Louisa’s 273rd birthday, so here are 273 facts you may not know about the acclaimed author.

[Just kidding.]

I’m obviously not doing that.

BUT here are just twelve facts about this amazing woman who wrote one of our most beloved books of all time, as well as a link to buy a wonderful biography to get the final 261.

  1. Louisa May Alcott was born Nov 29, 1832 in Pennsylvania on her father’s 33rd birthday.
  2. Louisa’s dad Bronson Alcott was a famous transcendentalist in his own right, known for big ideas that didn’t always pan out. Her mother was Abigail May, a social worker.
  3. Louisa grew up among her father’s contemporaries, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. (All of these guys are buried together on Author’s Ridge in the famous Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, along with Louisa herself.)
  4. Other family friends included Nathaniel Hawthorne and Margaret Fuller, also some of Louisa’s first teachers.
  5. Louisa was always involved in political and social causes. She was even the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Mass!
  6. Both Louisa and her sister loved acting and theater, and at one point her youth, Louisa wanted to be a professional actor.
  7. She and her family once served as station masters on the Underground Railroad and were staunch abolitionists and feminists.
  8. Like the characters in Little Women, Louisa and her family knew poverty. Bronson’s goals for his transcendentalist school and other philosophic endeavors didn’t always succeed as he hoped, leaving the family to fend for themselves. The family was constantly moving, and they often received help and housing from Thoreau and Emerson.
  9. Louisa worked as a teacher, seamstress, and governess before earning a living as a writer.
  10. Louisa loosely based the characters in Little Women off her own family, the character of Jo serving as a representation of Louisa herself. Plus you can visit Orchard House in real life!
  11. Little Women was originally published as two books, Little Women and Good Wives. The end of Little Women left the world wondering if Laurie and Jo would end up together. (Still my biggest beef with the story, as Laurie was my first fictional love.) When the followup was published, readers were crushed. But Louisa stood by her beliefs, stating in her journal: “Girls write to ask who the little women marry, as if that was the only aim and end of a woman’s life. I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone.” BOOM.
  12. While she is best known for Little Women, Louisa wrote over 30 books and short story collections, as well as essays and poetry.

There are many biographies out there with way more than just 12 facts about this revolutionary woman. If you want to read a GREAT one, I recommend Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen. It reads like an engaging fiction novel, giving you historical insight as well as personal history. One of the only biographies I’ve ever read that I just couldn’t put down, the book also digs into Louisa’s relationship with her mother Abigail, proving strong, creative women ran her family.

I also recommend visiting Orchard House if you’re ever around the Boston/Concord area!

164928_10151950883616978_1421828126_n<—Here’s a photo of yours truly sitting on the steps of Orchard House.

Did I cry when I saw the desk at which she penned Little Women? Yes. Yes, I did. Did I cry the whole time kind of?

Yes. Yes, I did.

 

Point is, literature and young women the world over owe a lot to LMA. Happy Birthday, Louisa May Alcott! We love you!

 

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship.”

Happy Birthday, Sarah Grimke!

I ask no favors for my sex. I surrender not our claim to equality. All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright on that ground which God designed us to occupy.”

 

BAM.

Sarah Grimke knew what was up! And today we celebrate what would have been her 223rd birthday.

[Girl is looking good for being in her second century.]

Sarah and her sister Angelina were two early activists for abolition and women’s rights. Born into a wealthy slave-owning family on a plantation South Carolina, the women quickly grew to despise the institution of slavery. Sarah was self taught, often secretly studying her father’s law books. She wanted to be a lawyer, but due to familial and societal limitations against educating women, she was forbidden. When her sister Angelina was born in 1805, Sarah vowed to “guide and direct [this] precious child.” This cemented her commitment to creating a better world, one she and her sister could succeed in and be proud of.

[Angelina also looking fly at the cool age of 210.]

After accompanying her father to Philadelphia for his medical treatment, Sarah was helped by a Quaker family and later moved north to officially joined the Quaker faith. Her sister (pictured above) joined her soon after, and the sisters began fighting to abolish slavery, eventually becoming outcasts in their home state. However, the sisters also faced criticism in the North, as women were not often on the forefront of social movements (or so people thought…). While Angelina was known for being a dynamic and outspoken public figure, Sarah was shyer and relied on her powerful writing skills to express her feminist beliefs. After facing much criticism over their place as females in the movement against slavery, Sarah Grimke wrote her famous Letters on the Equality of the Sexes. The sisters soon cemented their legacy as leaders in the fight for women’s rights as well as abolition.

 

[Basically.]

If you want to read more about the Grimke sisters, check out the links below. I also recommend reading the lovely historical fiction book The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. The story chronicles the lives of Sarah Grimke and a fictional female slave who is given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. It’s a breathtaking story of friendship and family that I honestly couldn’t put down. Plus it opened me up to a part of history I (almost shamefully) never knew existed! Reading is the best!

Happy Birthday, Sarah Grimke! You and your sister were two badass Quakers. (And how often do we get to say that?)

 

 

Sources for this article can be found here and here.

Happy Birthday, Hillary!

Today is October 26, 2015! And you know what that means…

It’s Hillary Clinton’s 68th birthday!!!!!

While my last birthday was spent eating cake off paper plates and Skyping with my mom, Secretary Clinton got down to Demi Lovato at her birthday bash/campaign fundraiser event last night in NYC. And while my birthday wishes can’t really compare to the dulcet tones of John Legend (yup, he was there, too), I do want to say how grateful I am that HRC was born on this day back in 1947. Aaaaaand here’s some reasons why!

She’s always fought for women

From her groundbreaking speech at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women to making women a central part of her turn as Secretary of State, Hills has spent her career fighting for women. Recently she has stood with victims of sexual assault and made reproductive rights central to her presidential campaign. See a timeline of her inspiring life here and watch the speech that cemented her global presence below:

She’s a trailblazer

How many times can we put “first” in front of Secretary Clinton’s name? Let’s see…

She was the first First Lady to hold an advanced degree, the first First Lady to hold public office, the first female senator from New York, the first woman to win a Presidential primary, the first First Lady to be directly involved with public policy, the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, the first female politician to win a Grammy (really!), and first student commencement speaker at Wellesley College. She is also the most-traveled Secretary of State, logging almost one million miles traveling around the world. (Not to mention, she also lead the fight for universal health care 20 years before Obamacare.) Being the first person to achieve so many things does come with a price, but Secretary Clinton’s resilience and courage in the face of speculation and ridicule are a large part of what makes her exceptional. [Crossing our fingers for another first in 2016… #madampresident]

She’s hilarious

You’ve seen her on SNL. You’ve read her emails about Parks and Rec and The Good Wife. (Also this interview is gold.) She’s gotten a lot of flack for being cold and calculated, but when she’s at her best (#DemDebate, amiright?), Hillary is pretty funny. See below:

She’s dealt with some shit

As if you haven’t heard.

Yes, yes Benghazi, her private email server, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation money, BENGHAZI. And that’s just from this election cycle. Whitewater, Troopergate, and of course Monica Lewinsky (whose TED Talk changed my life) are scandals that many media outlets and political commentators said would ruin the Clintons forever.

Hillary Clinton has been especially eviscerated by the press and the public for nearly her entire career, either getting lumped into her husband’s issues or dealing with her own. How often has this decorated public figure been publicly called a bitch? Her physical appearance as well as her mental capacity have been called into question. First she’s too feminist, then not feminist enough. She’s the subject of damning books, even a video game app that lets the player slap the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State in the face. In this fascinating piece from The New Yorker, Frank Rich breaks down the Clinton enemy’s obsession with sex and “how frequently [Hillary Clinton is] the victim of drive-by character assassination” in almost any political or personal instance. Most recently, her public record has come into question, when Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina asked Democrats to find one thing Hillary Clinton has accomplished.

They managed to name a few.

And yet Hillary and President Bill Clinton have not only survived, but thrived. Is this a Frank Underwood of House of Cards situation, where everyone else takes the fall while the power couple who orchestrated it all climbs to the top of the DC ladder?

I guess it’s possible.

But I think what’s even more possible is this: The bigger the public platform, the bigger the risk – in policy, personal lives, and especially in the press. The more responsibility you have, the greater the consequences. Are the Clintons perfect? I don’t think so. But I also believe they have been the victims of some of the most intense public scrutiny we have ever seen. Secretary Clinton has been affected by intense sexism and misogyny, an issue that creates and augments political scandals, detracts from her astonishing public service career, and affects the rhetoric around her as a candidate and person to this day. And that’s on us.

Hillary Clinton is smart, passionate, aggressive, and vigilant. She continues to work tirelessly for the betterment of others despite near constant attacks on her record and her character. But time and time again, she’s come out on top. And that is pretty remarkable.

Cheers to the lady of many firsts who continues to inspire women, men, and children all over the world. Happy 68th Birthday, Hills.

Keep it up. We’re with you.

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1921. She attended Smith College and spent time in New York as a reporter before marrying her husband in 1947.  After having her first child, Friedan found herself becoming restless at home. She wrote The Feminine Mystique, which became a huge hit. It is said to have created “a social revolution by dispelling the myth that all women wanted to be happy homemakers, and marking the start of what would become Friedan’s incredibly significant role in the women’s rights movement. The work is also credited with spurring second-wave feminism in the United States.” She co-founded the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966 and served as its first president. Friedan also helped found National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America) in 1969 and the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971.

For a woman who was expected to be ‘just a housewife’, Betty Friedan sure made her mark. Here is an excerpt from her groundbreaking book, The Feminine Mystique:

“The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — “Is this all?”

For over fifteen years there was no word of this yearning in the millions of words written about women, for women, in all the columns, books and articles by experts telling women their role was to seek fulfillment as wives and mothers. Over and over women heard in voices of tradition and of Freudian sophistication that they could desire no greater destiny than to glory in their own femininity. Experts told them how to catch a man and keep him, how to breastfeed children and handle their toilet training, how to cope with sibling rivalry and adolescent rebellion; how to buy a dishwasher, bake bread, cook gourmet snails, and build a swimming pool with their own hands; how to dress, look, and act more feminine and make marriage more exciting; how to keep their husbands from dying young and their sons from growing into delinquents.

If a woman had a problem in the 1950’s and 1960’s, she knew that something must be wrong with her marriage, or with herself. Other women were satisfied with their lives, she thought. What kind of a woman was she if she did not feel this mysterious fulfillment waxing the kitchen floor? She was so ashamed to admit her dissatisfaction that she never knew how many other women shared it. If she tried to tell her husband, he didn’t understand what she was talking about. She did not really understand it herself. …

If I am right, the problem that has no name stirring in the minds of so many American women today is not a matter of loss of femininity or too much education, or the demands of domesticity. It is far more important than anyone recognizes. It is the key to these other new and old problems which have been torturing women and their husbands and children, and puzzling their doctors and educators for years. It may well be the key to our future as a nation and a culture. We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: “I want something more than my husband and my children and my home.”

 

And here’s a letter to Friedan from 1963:

23 April 1963 Leicester, Mass.

“For the last few years, I have been on the “old housekeeping merry-go round.” …I cleaned and cleaned…and then I cleaned some more! All day—every day. My mother had returned to teaching school when I was twelve, and I had resented it, and consequently vowed that when I married and had children I would make it my vocation. I was quite convinced that I was very happy with my role in life as we had our own home and my husband is a good husband and father and a very sufficient provider. However, one night last November, all Hell broke loose in my psyche. I was sitting calmly reading when I became overwhelmed with waves of anxiety. I couldn’t imagine what was happening… I visited my family doctor. He put me on tranquilizers and diagnosed it as a mild state of anxiety. However there was no explanation…I chose security over everything else…I felt I had something about it…I now have a goal and no longer feel like a vegetable.”

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Celebrating Women’s History Month: Margaret Sanger

“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”

Margaret Sanger was a birth control and sex activist throughout the first half of the 20th century who helped legalize contraception in the United States.  She is also credited with creating the organizations that eventually became Planned Parenthood. Sanger believed that in order for women to lead safer, healthier lives and to regain their rights within a marriage and society, they first needed to have the right to decide when they could become mothers. She wished to protect women from unsafe abortions (since abortion was illegal), as well as from spousal abuse, poverty, and the dangers of intentional miscarriage. While she is sometimes criticized for her interest in eugenics, she still worked hand in hand with African American leaders to protect women in all communities. She was also a strong supporter of sexual expression and sexual freedom, believing that sex should be discussed with openness and candor.

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Here are some of her most profound statements:

“Against the State, against the Church, against the silence of the medical profession, against the whole machinery of dead institutions of the past, the woman of today arises.”

 

“Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have. Regardless of what man’s attitude may be, that problem is hers — and before it can be his, it is hers alone. She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.”

 

“Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.”

 

“Eugenists imply or insist that a woman’s first duty is to the state; we contend that her duty to herself is her first duty to the state. We maintain that a woman possessing an adequate knowledge of her reproductive functions is the best judge of the time and conditions under which her child should be brought into the world. We further maintain that it is her right, regardless of all other considerations, to determine whether she shall bear children or not, and how many children she shall bear if she chooses to become a mother.”

 

For more on Margaret Sanger, check out some of these new books and their authors’ interviews on NPR’s Fresh Air!

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Celebrating Women’s History Month: Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta is 84 years old. In 1930 she was born in the mining town of Dawson, New Mexico. In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a labor leader and activist, having spent her life working for immigrant rights, workers’ rights, and women’s rights. She was a very early member of the United Farm Workers and is a role model among the Latino community.

Here she is interviewed in 2011 when she was awarded the Medal of Freedom.

 

Below is a moving excerpt from a 2013 interview with Huerta from Frontline. Read the full interview here:

To somebody who knows nothing about the problems of sexual assault among female farmworkers, how did you become aware of it?

I became aware of it as a young woman, and my mother would never let me work in the fields. She would tell me, “You can work in the packing sheds,” and at first I didn’t know why.

And then when I actually did go out and work in the fields, then, like all of the other women, I saw the foreman coming and hovering around you. And of course that was something that made you very nervous, because you didn’t know if they were just looking at your work or if they were looking at you.

Then eventually talking to other farmworker women that were working out there, [I found out] that this was part of the job, so to speak, that you had to kind of be careful, because somebody in that field would come and try to invite you, or they would start looking at you, making these advances. And of course it was bothersome to a woman to know.

Many of the women, of course, that work out in the fields, they wear these bandanas, as you know, to keep the sun off their faces, but also it’s kind of a protection in many ways from trying to keep the foreman from looking at them.

You mean hide yourself?

It’s kind of a way of hiding yourself, right. So this has been one of those hazards of the job of being a farmworker, because the way that farmworker women are treated, they are looked at as sex objects, actually, when they are out there in the field.

Is this in your experience something that is tolerated by management? Is it part of the landscape?

One of the issues that you have with farmworkers generally is that the employers do not take direct responsibility for their workers. Over the years it’s become more of a common practice that employers will hire labor contractors. They outsource the work, so to speak.

And these labor contractors that they hire, many of them are former farmworkers themselves, and they’ve never been trained in human resources or human relations management, so the type of tactics that they use to manage their workers are pretty [far] back in the 19th century. What they use to manage their workers is fear: fear of losing your job.

Of course this then comes to [the surface] when a women is a victim of sexual advances. Then what she’s worried about is not only losing her job; she’s worried that her husband will lose his job, or her brother or her boyfriend or somebody in the family. It might even be a cousin, because many of these families work together. So the whole family can get fired if a woman complains that she’s being sexually harassed.

When you were starting the [United] Farm Workers union early on, was this a priority to deal with this issue?

It really wasn’t, I have to say, … except let me just say this: toilets. There were no toilets in the fields, so women literally, when they had to do their business, they would have to go together. They would have to get sheets or towels to cover themselves. There were no toilets.

… It did not become a national law until 1985 that farmworkers had to have toilets in the fields. Before that time, especially for women workers, it was extremely embarrassing for them, because you have some places where you had row crops — asparagus, tomatoes, daikon, lettuce, all of these types. There was no place that a woman could go to the bathroom. So this was part of it. This was demeaning [for] a farmworker generally but demeaning [for] the women in particular.

So the issue of sexual assault or violence at the workplace, that wasn’t something you could address if you didn’t even have a toilet yet.

That’s true. And I think at this point, when we started organizing  farmworkers, Cesar Chavez and myself, farmworkers were getting paid like 70 cents an hour, 70 cents to 90 cents an hour. I remember that Lyndon Johnson, as the head of the Senate, refused to pass a bill that gave farmworkers a minimum wage of 50 cents an hour.

So the big pressing issues were feeding the family. This is what people talked about: How do we earn enough money to feed our families? …

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Celebrate Women’s History Month: Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony was a revolutionary abolitionist, social reformer, and feminist who played a substantial role in the women’s suffrage movement. In what Time Magazine calls one of the top ten greatest speeches of all time, Susan B. Anthony’s passion and anger pours out through the page. She had just been fined $100 for casting an illegal ballot (“illegal” meaning she was a woman and therefore broke the law by voting) and she went out on a tour speaking about women’s rights. Time notes Anthony was fined in 1872 and the 19th amendment passed in 1920– Anthony never paid her fine.

Women’s Rights to Suffrage

by Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)

1873

Friends and Fellow Citizens: I stand before you tonight under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted at the last presidential election, without having a lawful right to vote. It shall be my work this evening to prove to you that in thus voting, I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen’s rights, guaranteed to me and all United States citizens by the National Constitution, beyond the power of any State to deny.

The preamble of the Federal Constitution says:

“We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people–women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government–the ballot.

For any State to make sex a qualification that must ever result in the disfranchisement of one entire half of the people is to pass a bill of attainder, or an ex post facto law, and is therefore a violation of the supreme law of the land. By it the blessings of liberty are for ever withheld from women and their female posterity. To them this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the right govern the poor. An oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters of every household–which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord and rebellion into every home of the nation.

Webster, Worcester and Bouvier all define a citizen to be a person in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office.

The only question left to be settled now is: Are women persons? And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens; and no State has a right to make any law, or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities. Hence, every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several States is today null and void, precisely as in every one against Negroes.

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Susan B. Anthony’s speech appears as found here.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Bella Abzug

With a campaign slogan like “A woman’s place is in the house — the House of Representatives,” who wouldn’t elect Bella Abzug? Abzug was “born yelling” in New York City in 1920, and went on to become an influential player in the civil rights and women’s movements, a social activist, and a congressperson for the 20th district of New York in the US House of Representatives. She helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus, and was an avid advocate for peace and protest. She was a driven, exceptionally charismatic and passionate woman who stood her ground even when it signaled defeat.

Hear her speak here. The Jewish Women’s Archive also has a wonderful resource where you can hear longer speeches on the gender gap, feminism, and being a female lawyer during the McCarthy era, as well as read a more in depth history.

There is little video of Abzug in her prime, but watch her below as she recounts how she helped propose and pass legislation so women could apply and sign for their own credit cards. This was in 1974. Let me repeat, women were barred from applying for credit cards without their husbands’ permission up until 1974. While this seems a little infomercial-ish, her commitment to women’s liberties is clear. Plus, she just seems like a lady who gets shit done. And I love that.

 

Bella Abzug was an inspirational woman who founded countless organizations and conferences. She gave her final speech at the UN in 1999 and died shortly after. After listening to her speak, I wish we had about 10,000 of her in Congress today.

 

 

 

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