What the women’s rights movement means to me

27 Apr

The women’s right movement means different things to different people for a variety of reasons. The women’s right movement was one of the most significant and overdue happenings in not just our nation’s history but on the global scale. I wish I could say the movement was over as it’s been in play for centuries and that all women around the world have attained quality, but it is being fought today in every town around the world in varying degrees.

When I was little I recall the women’s right movement being such a hot and controversial topic, I just didn’t know what it was all about. I was too young to understand the significance of it all. I vaguely recall the bra burning episodes and even my parents arguing over it. I remember my dad telling my mom she was equal in all regards and her defiantly protesting that just wasn’t the truth. Maybe at home she was, but not out in the rest of the world. She knew all too well there was inequality. She had been particularly talented in the fields of finance and economics and even held a degree in economics, but in the early fifties the best job she could get in the field was as an administrative assistant to someone else doing a job she could have done as well if not better.

By the time I realized ERA was more than the amount of earned runs a pitcher gave up in a baseball game and what it actually meant I was a bit amazed it was something that had to be fought for. I lived in a cloud of assumptions in which I thought all people were created equal and that women and men could all do the anything they wanted to on equal footing. I had no idea so many things that would be important to me in the future hinged on what was then the modern women’s right movement.

What the women’s rights movement has meant to me personally is that doors that were often locked when I was born are now open. I am not restricted in what I can do. I make my own future and don’t have to apologize for being assertive or for achieving any level of success. I can vote because women long before me fought the battle for suffrage. I can own land and attend college without the pressure of being pushed into secretarial studies or having the stigma of only being there to pursue an “Mrs.” removed, and pursue any career I want. I may not land the job I want through my own shortcomings, but I can apply and expect to be graded equally against other applicants. At least that’s how things work on paper.

It is because women far braver and stronger than me that stood up and said “no more” I’ve been able to enjoy many of the things I now I have in life without compromising myself or depending on someone else to get me there. Where that was once the exception it is now becoming more and more the rule. I can speak up on topics that were once male dominated and be taken seriously with my thoughts being judged on their merits and not my gender. Of course there are always people stuck in the past that haven’t managed to wake up and get there yet, but they are a slowly dying breed.

 I am able to coach sports like baseball instead of settling for being the team mother responsible for arranging who brings after game beverages and organizing an end of season party. I don’t run into the situations my mom did in which when she entered the work world her masters degree was considered less valuable than the “experience” of often younger men with little more than a high school education applying for the same job only because she was a woman. I am not expected to only stay at home and keep the house in order and raise the family. Nobody looks at me not having a man in my life and instantly thinks there must be something wrong with me. I define who I am, I am not defined by who I am with.

What the women’s rights movement has meant is that now my limitations are only placed on myself by myself. I’m not bound to archaic code that determines what I can do with my life or the way I do it. It means I am the true mistress of my my destiny.

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