March 8, 2012, International Women’s Day…. wouldn’t you think we’d be more highly evolved on women’s rights by now in the 21st Century so that the word dominating the headlines about women would be something other than “slut”?
Oh, baby, we have such a loooonnnnggg way to go!
Lynn Forrester de Rothschild, CEO of EL Rothschild, has a great piece on today’s Huffington Post about the continuing dearth of women leaders at the highest ranks of corporate and civic life in the U.S. and U.K. Read this post, it’s a great summary of the issues. Read also Valerie Keller, CEO of Veritas, on women’s leadership.
Frankly, there are too many days when it feels like cavemen still roam the earth and the females of the species are being dragged around by their hair. And, those are the disputes among the well-educated elites, the law students and media mavens and policymakers and Congresspeople and bishops and White House advisors?
If we’re feeling this way in the front office, what must it be like for the women who clean the hotels, work in the laundries, remain stuck in the steno pools, barely eking out enough weekly salary to keep their children clothed and fed?
What must it be like for women in places around the world where rape is a routine tool to remind them who’s in charge, where illiteracy is a chronic condition across the generations, where the next meal might be days hence?
Here in the U.S., we spend long days and much energy dancing on the heads of pins around issues that should be long-settled: whether women may speak up for their own rights, whether women can be forced to undergo invasive medical procedures, whether women can be prohibited from making decisions about their own health. Good heavens, what is it, 1950??
But sadly, our preoccupation with our own narrow interests means that on this International Women’s Day, the wealthiest and most well-educated people on earth have little time or concern for the real challenges that women face on our small planet.
For too many of our sisters in the global village, the issue is not shattering the glass ceiling but how to recover from the shattering experiences of violence, poverty and utter debasement that is the chronic condition of life for hundreds of millions of women and children worldwide?
70% of the one billion poorest people on the face of the earth are women.
Girls and women continue to lack adequate educational opportunity in too many countries. The U.N. has just released the World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education, a document that should be a guide for initiative and action.
Even as we shake our heads at the inane and insulting ways that women are put down by various politicians and commentators in this country, let’s not allow that silliness to distract our attention from the real issues: pervasive sex discrimination in employment opportunity, fair pay, career advancement, and educational opportunity for women around the world.
The women’s revolution is far from over. Let’s use today to recommit the brainpower, passion and talent of the Trinity community to the advancement of women everywhere!