Equality Or Lip Service?
By Monica Wilcox
Wow! Can we all agree that last week was a hard kick to the uterus?
I usually hate to write about “hot topics” after they’ve turned cold but the uterus doesn’t really fall into the hot topic category; it’s more of a buried topic; fuming in the coffin, clawing its way out, yet again, to eat the female population alive. Yes, it may have slunk back into its shallow grave but trust me, it’ll be back. It just keeps creeping back.
And I’m Exhausted By It
First, I was enlightened about the recent bill that was passed by the Virginia Senate forcing women who want to have an abortion to do an ultrasound first. So, if my family happened to move to Virginia and my daughter or I were to become unexpectedly pregnant, we would receive a clear, fluttering image to help us remember this life altering (and what most men could not know is that this is, either way, a life altering) decision. Obviously the State does not believe my capabilities as a mother/woman are enough and since neither of us can be trusted to grasp the sensitivity and importance of this choice, this male dominated group (you know this statistic could safely be assumed but I checked anyway; 34-6) has decided to do it for us. Not that they would be in the room to watch that heart beat, or have required the father to also be present. Thirty six men, in all their uterine wisdom, with NO possibility of facing a situation (violent vaginal rape) where the law forces them to have a scope stuck into their body, have dictated that one can be stuck into mine and my child’s. Oh, but this is only the beginning. Because they have assured us that they have much more to say about what’s best for women.
It did not surprise me that they’ve sold this law as a “health measure”; like I’m silly enough to accept this as truth; as if I haven’t been educated on the lack of funding that has been historically given to women’s health. If the Virginia Senate really cared about my health they’d be taking measures to protect my heart.
And we’re concerned for the women in the Middle East?
Then Washington Had a Meeting
Of course it upset me to see a panel of men discussing with a board of other men (did not check stats but seriously, do I need to?) about contraception. It pissed me off that no one thought beforehand how this would look, “Hey man, this might come off looking questionably P.C. to 51 percent of the population. Don’t we have a female minister we can stick on the end or something?” Yes, it pissed me off that they obviously didn’t care how I would feel to see a room full of men deciding how to manage my ability to conceive. And it pissed me off that the one woman who was set to speak on this issue never did. But what really got to me, what set me to fuming, is that I am naïve enough to think it would be…could be…any different.
Because here is the problem at its core: we can’t demand a panel of female experts, politicians, and CEOs to represent our population because there isn’t a pool to draw from. Women are still not the majority of the leadership/management team in any organization.
Let me tell you what kind of mother/woman I am. I’m raising my daughter with the same expectations, hope and zest that I give my son. The difference is I don’t have to constantly enforce these verbal montages to my son because society is already doing it. EVERY DAY I tell her that she can do anything she wants. I tell her she does not need a man in her life to be successful. I tell her that she has a special gift to offer and that all she needs is a good education, drive and the courage to accomplish it. I tell her anything is possible.
I’m lying to her.
Because I am a mother/woman who is afraid that the truth will slash her dreams and lower her expectations. Should I tell her the truth? That if she were to do the same job as her brother she’d be paid less. That men are still making the decisions about her uterus, her education, her employment, her finances, the very products available to her. Should I tell her tonight that men, the minority, are still huddled around long tables deciding on the rules for women…the majority.
Although my daughter was born decades after the start of the feminist movement into “the land of the free,” she has yet to live a day of equality. She has men in her life EVERY DAMN DAY, telling her how a woman lives a “successful” life. And if she has a special gift to share with this planet, I know she will not receive the same opportunities my son will get to share his.
If you believe she will, you are lying to yourself.
Oprah recently asked the American managers of a Haitian orphanage if they were misleading the girls by giving them an education and inspiring them to want a career and life beyond raising children. Oprah knows it can be dangerous to sell someone on a dream which brinks on the impossible.
I’m asking EVERY woman, the majority in this country, I’m asking the Virginia State Senate and the men sitting on Capitol Hill and every other man sitting at a boardroom table…are you selling my daughter a pipe dream? Are we setting up our girls to a bitter and disappointing future?
Are we going to continue to give girls lip service or are we going to give them a seat? That’s all I want to know. I don’t give a healthy care if those men on Capitol Hill were arguing over abortion, contraception, church policy, health care or the waves on Ruffles! I want to know are WE (if you can vote, if you have a voice, then I’m asking you) going to continue to keep our daughters out of the boardroom so our sons are guaranteed a seat?