Today is dedicated to women. Alice Paul comes to mind. Not satisfied with the passing of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote, Paul fought, unsuccessfully, for the rest of her life for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to secure constitutional equality for women. The last time an attempt was made to have the necessary 38 states for ratification was 1977 – only 35 state legislatures voted for it. The next deadline was set for 1982, and that passed with no other states voting for it. Nothing since then. Today women, in the U.S. are still paid less than men for equal work. Women are still subjected to unspeakable violence in the world. My daughter studied Alice Paul in middle school. I remember watching the movie Iron Jawed Angels with her (highly recommend it to those of you who never saw it) at the time. We had long talks about women’s rights and their role in the world. The work is not done. I hope my daughter’s generation will continue the work that Alice Paul dedicated her life to.
Yesterday I saw “Lysistrata”, written by Aristophanes more than 2000 years ago. It was an adaptation performed by the students of the local university. The women of Sparta and Athens, sick of war, decide to withhold sex from their men until a peace treaty is signed. That was the only way they could exert power. Sure, the play was a comedy but it was a political satire of the times that still rings real and true today. What if more women were in power? What if Congress were truly representative of our society? Would we have had the last two wars?
Wars, pain, injustice. A dispirited end to my weekend. I can’t wait for my daughter to come home for her spring break. Seeing young women’s enthusiasm and hunger for change is what I need right now.