Women's Movement 2017
By Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh - http://stephaniecavanaugh.com
The year is 2017 - and there is a new women’s movement. It has rushed to the front lines since the election of president number 45, and men like him, have grown in power. There was the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st. On March 8th, “A Day without a Woman” (The Women’s Strike). More events will follow. As this movement continues to gain momentum, I’ve begun to contemplate more on what this movement represents in general and what is means to me personally.
This movement comes at a critical time in our history. As powers rise to the top who hold little regard for women and treat them with the same lack of respect and dignity; even openly joking about sexually assaulting women; we must as women (and the men who support our cause), stand up against this discrimination, madness, and administration. We must make our voices heard; that we will no longer stand quiet while we are discriminated against, paid less, given less opportunity, harassed, assaulted, raped, and suppressed. No longer. From now on, we will be loud; we will rise up together; we will be heard. And we will not be silenced into submission.
This women’s movement is a statement. It is a show of power and solidarity - that we as women won’t be suppressed and stay quiet any longer. We will rise up together and together, we are strong. Together, we make our voices heard that discrimination is not okay and we won’t stand down until we are free of it.
It is a statement against the cruelties against women that still exist in today’s world. International Women’s Day began in 1909, after women went on strike to stand against the harrowing working conditions they were being forced to endure. It is still an official holiday and is celebrated in more than 25 countries. However, more than 100 years later, women still face inequality all around the world.
We live in a world where female genital mutilation still exists and an estimated 200 million women and girls worldwide have undergone the procedure. We live in a world where one third of underage girls in developing countries are forced into marriage. Did you know that even today, one in three women have experienced physical or sexual abuse by a partner? In the United States, women today are paid, on average, 20% less than men. The United States currently ranks 16th in the best countries for women; Sweden is ranked number one. Women in the United States and around the world still have a lot to overcome in the fight for equality.
This movement means something a little different for everyone, but the foundation of equality and anti-suppression is the same. For me, this movement is vital. It is standing up against discrimination all around the world and also standing against all the times I personally have been mistreated as a woman. It is for the middle school basketball coach who thought it was fun to slap all of us on our behinds as we left the locker room. It is for the way he would scream at us and try to intimidate us if we made a mistake or missed a shot. It is for the other team’s coach who was caught spying on the girls in the locker room while they changed clothes. It is for the guys who ganged raped me as a teenager and laughed about it and for the detective who accused me of lying and saying I probably liked it. It is for the guy who sexually assaulted me at work on camera and for those who shamed me for pressing charges. It is for the police officer who grabbed my chest in a bar just because he thought he could. It is for the harassment and lewd commentary from men, while just walking down the street or while trying to enjoy a night out or while driving and sitting at a red light. It is for the multiple CEOs who paid me less than my male coworkers for the same work. It is for the CEO who made inappropriate comments to me and who text me inappropriate things in addition to being constantly emotionally abusive and who, when I stood up and told him he was crossing the line, turned against me and my work, intentionally instilling fear for both my physical safety and the safety of my job. It is for the VP (in a company where I was the only woman) who told me that I wasn’t allowed to carry a purse to client meetings because men don’t carry purses and women who do are unprofessional. It is for that time I realized I wasn’t hired for my brains or ability, but instead to just be something to look at. It is for the time I was date raped as a show of power and to try to break me down into submission. It is for the man who called me every horrible thing you can imagine because as he put it, I’m just a woman and women are nothing. The list goes on ...
You see, women deal with these things on a regular basis. We grow up learning how to deal with it, brush it off, look past it, and create as little waves as possible. So much so that we become almost numb to it and it seems almost like just a normal part of life we must accept. Almost. But no longer. We cannot sit silently anymore. For if we don’t stand up for ourselves and let our voices be heard loud and clear, no one will. And then we too, are to blame. So my sisters, let's stand up and let’s speak up. We shall not be silenced.
About the Author:
Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh - Hi, I'm Stephanie ... pleasure to become virtually acquainted. Please note the views and opinions communicated here are my own and not representative of any particular group or organization.
Interests, ever-evolving: Photography, painting, art, science, medicine, astronomy, yoga, travel, the world, culture, language, education, women's rights, human rights, making the world a kinder, more beautiful place.