American Women are the Most Powerful and Free in the World
May 7, 2019
By Genevieve Wooden
“Friends of the Colorado Women’s Alliance”
We live in a time of contradiction for women. American women have more freedom and power than any others in the world and yet there are those among us who still grumble about gender injustice – be it equal pay, the unsavory actions of the latest male politician or celebrity, or why society doesn’t treat us ‘right.’
Younger American women, might find it confusing at times to understand how so many of us can be satisfied and proud of our achievements, while they see only that there can be more. It’s vital to remember the women who came before us and respect their work and sacrifice to make our daily life the blessing that it is as an American woman.
A hundred years ago women could not open a bank account, apply for a loan, become an accountant or a lawyer, prosecute a spouse for rape, or be considered a ‘person’ in the eyes of the law. As late as the 1960s, there were still “Help Wanted” ads in newspapers that were segregated into “Male Jobs” and “Female Jobs.” In the 21st century we find ourselves with the same equal opportunities and rights as men to study and enter into any profession we desire. In fact, our success in business and the working world is envied worldwide.
In a time when we expect everything to happen rapidly, progress cannot come swift enough for some. More women than ever are cracking, but not entirely breaking, the glass ceiling. Of the 2018 Fortune 500 company CEO’s, only 24 were women (4.8 percent.) That may not seem like a lot but that is a 100 percent increase from just 10 years prior when there were only 12. An Athenahealth survey from 2017 found that of 18,000 physicians in over 3500 practices in the U.S., for doctors under the age of 35, 60 percent were women and only 40 percent were men – a dramatic shift, right before our eyes.
Many younger women today may not remember some of the more recent historical events that have allowed the 2019 woman her rights. It may seem that opportunities for jobs, healthcare, and education have always been there. However, most of these rights came about only during the 60s and 70s from the Equal Rights Act and social movements that forced change.
Recent national events have revealed that women wanting to fight for their “cause,” – be it abortion, sexual assault, gender issues, religion, healthcare, environment, equal pay or any other – could actually end up acting against it if they fall victim to jumping on damaging statements and claims that are later found to be fabricated or exaggerated.
In the women’s movement of today, it’s important to stay focused on legitimate policy changes that benefit all women vs hot topic-of-the-day rage.
We must consider our end goal and not create chaos for women’s rights because of current social and political events. Change can often be a slow process, any social change, not just issues concerning women. While women continue to claim their place in the home, workplace, and society, let’s consider what needs to be done and thoughtfully move forward together as women.
A deliberate approach to both policy and conversations will encourage different points of view and open communication. Let’s not stagnate or reverse some of the best things that have happened in the last hundred years regarding the rights of women in society. Let’s not damage the solid foundation for American women that we get to stand on every day. In our efforts to continue the rights of the American woman, let’s remember the rights we already have, and make sure to act with vigilance to the honor of the women who went before us.