[textbox icon=”fa-star” heading=”If Women Want To Be Equal, We Also Need To Stand In Our Political Power” icon_background_color=”#f31b02″ heading_color=”#f31b02″]Living in the USA these days, I have been aghast by the political shenanigans in recent months to defund Planned Parenthood, a not-for-profit that provides affordable access to contraception, reproductive healthcare, PAP smears and breast exams for lower-income women all across the USA. Having grown up in Europe, these are to me undeniable human rights and seeing them still being fought over here feels like being back in the dark ages. A real wake up call.
It was against this background that I read Gloria’s comments about how women cannot hope to gain complete gender equality if we don’t also seek equality in political representation. Gloria quotes Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organizer of the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, explaining why she focused on winning the right for women to vote:
“…the power to make the laws, was the right through which all other rights could be secured”
Later on in the book Gloria circles back to this point and says: “You may not like politics but it affects every aspect of your life, whether or not you are personally involved or not. We have to stand in our political power and walk with intention toward what we want to make happen or we lose all the way around”
To me this was a real wake up call: How can we hope for the right political solutions and support if barely any of our representatives in office truly understand the reality of women’s lives? We need more women in office – at any level.
Now that may not be something we all aspire to, but what we all do have is our vote. And Gloria exhorts us to use it wisely. Take a real interest in the candidates and do give a damn about women’s issues. By definition women hold 50% of the vote. But for some reason we have failed to wield our collective power for our own good. The more I think about that, the more it irks me. Why???? Don’t tell me you “don’t care for politics”. You do, because as Gloria says above “You may not like politics but it affects every aspect of your life”.
So instead of feeling powerless over issues such as equal pay or access to affordable child care etc, please remember Gloria’s words that women have enormous power ….if only they would organize themselves more effectively as a collective to bring about those necessary changes.
So perhaps it is time to stop skipping those articles about politics and dare to have discussions with your other female friends about these issues. Because if you want equal pay and access to affordable healthcare and access to affordable and quality reproductive healthcare then we all need to get engaged and speak up.[/textbox]