Madam President of the United States

I love you madam presidentMy conversations with Main Street women, the magnificent unsung doers, shakers and shapers of America, transformed me. Now, I think daily about the gap between what real women care about and what’s happening in the country.

In particular, I often think about what a Montana woman said, “I don’t even know what equality would look like here.” This resonated deeply with me because gender equality here seems so distant, murky and remote.

Yesterday an email hit my inbox that felt different. I paid attention. Emily’s List launched the Madam President Campaign.  http://emilyslist.org/madam-president

Take a couple of minutes and watch the video of young girls acting as if a woman is the President of the United States.

We Love War?

WarEvery day, I’m inundated with email asking me to join others in taking action related to the “War on Women,” a catchphrase that has been around since at least the 1990s.

We seem to love ‘war’ here in America:  War on Women. War on Terror. War on Drugs. War on Crime. And, if you’re a midlifer like me, you’ll remember the War on Communism.

Not a Paul Ryan fan, I can almost –but not quite – appreciate his sardonic tone:  “Now it’s a war on women; tomorrow it’s going to be a war on left-handed Irishmen or something like that.”

Is there really a War on Women in America? Ryan doesn’t think so. Those crying out ‘war’ point to Ryan’s belief (and corresponding actions) that abortion should never be a medical option for American women – even in cases of incest and rape.

How different Ryan is from “Mr. Conservative,” Barry Goldwater.

Arguably one of the most influential leaders of 20th Century American politics, Goldwater served five terms in the U.S. Senate for the state of Arizona. He lost his bid for the U.S. Presidency in a landslide to President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Asked about women’s right to have an abortion, Goldwater said,  “I think the average woman feels, ‘My God, that’s my business,’ and that’s the way we should keep it.”

‘WARRIORESSES’ & WARRIORS EVERYWHERE

Is “war” a healthy thing for the U.S.?  The term catalyzed national unity in the past. How does it make us feel, think and act now?stop the war on women

This week alone, I’ve received over a dozen requests to sign onto worthy petitions related to the War on Women:

  • Urge state legislatures to stop proposing and enacting bills that restrict a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.
  • Support national gender pay equity legislation.
  • Protest companies like Hobby Lobby and Eden Foods, entities that have filed lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act which requires employers to add contraception to insurance coverage plans.
  • Ask Congress to take action (beyond making sure they can fly without delays) on the sequester cuts that are disproportionately impacting women and children.

Shared Battles

One ‘take action’ email woke me up to how globally connected we are.  I’d just given feedback to a Ugandan woman last week. She’d written a piece about her country’s lack of national policy around young people’s access to education during pregnancy and after giving birth.

Connecting with her made me realize, wow, we’re sharing battles.

global connectednessThe U.S. has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world—750,000 teen pregnancies each year. In a nationwide survey of U.S. high school dropout youth, 33 percent of female dropouts and almost 20 percent of male dropouts said that becoming a parent was a major factor in their decision to leave school. Soon, U.S. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) and U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) will reintroduce legislation aimed at improving graduation rates among secondary school students expecting or parenting children.

To sign a letter supporting the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act, you may email bob@HealthyTeenNetwork.org.

What Does U.S. Gender Equality Look Like to You?

Before I finalize The Flight Patterns of Superwomen book, I’ll be doing some mini-surveying. One thing I’m really curious about is what average American’s think gender equality can and should look like.

Would electing a Madam President make your top 5 list?

Comments

  1. Diane Nassir, M.A. says:

    At the most extreme expression, I would hope that gender equality would resonate throughout American culture to the extent that females at any age, whether 3, 9, 15, 20, 35, 50, +, would no longer live with the knowledge of, and the fear derived from the fact, that almost any man at any time can take her life, that as women, we live by the grace of men–we should not have to live with that–we should be able to live without physical fear of males.

    • Jone Bosworth says:

      Dear Diane,
      I’m in radical agreement with you! Yes, at a minimum all females in America should live without the fear of having life taken away! In these difficult times, increasing gun violence and continuing rates of rape and other violence against women certainly make the “top 5” gender equality list, don’t they?
      Sending you lots of love,
      Jone

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