It was 1978, when we began to celebrate Women’s History Month in the United States while in the rest of the world, International Women’s Day goes all the way back to 1911. In the same manner as Black History Month, which was established in 1976, Women’s History Month was first celebrated as Women’s History Week. The rest of the world was already acknowledging and celebrating the significant contributions made by women throughout the course of human history nearly 68 years before the U.S. began to celebrate Women’s History Month. What also must be acknowledged is that in 2017, a woman in the United States continues to be paid less than a man for doing the same work. Violence against women continues to be an epidemic problem with 85 percent of domestic abuse victims being women, and sexual violence statistics persist with 1 out of every 4 women becoming victims of sexual assault.
Words do matter. The style of communication that is “typically” used to characterize, describe and address women in social and political discourse, media of all types and forms, in the halls of the academe, in business, the arts and throughout popular culture is often denigrating and demeaning and creates a culture where a majority of the population is devalued and marginalized. The normalization of these activities continues to perpetuate the myth that being a female is, inherently, less valuable than being a male. The complicity with which our society has allowed overt misogyny to persist within our politics and political discourse as another “perspective” or a first amendment right to freedom of speech and expression is appalling. It emboldens the type of violence against women and girls that threatens their right to equal protection under the law and basic human dignity. It seems, although having made great strides and monumental achievements over time, women still live in a perpetual struggle for equal representation, for justice and equity, for the right to make personal decisions about their own bodies and reproductive health, and are not afforded the opportunity to exist fully and fearlessly in the world without being penalized simply because “she” is a woman.
How long will we wait for full representation and equal treatment under the law? It has already been far too long and we are tired of waiting. The outpouring of women in the streets in protest and resistance to the current administration in Washington, DC was historic. It must continue to be relentless and must become as important to men as it is to women, and all people. The ridiculously myopic and entrenched racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and neo-fascism that has so insidiously infected what is being framed as “the populist culture” here in America is Extreme; it is NOT Normal although there are those who seem to want to believe it is. We are on the verge of something incredibly transformative in America right now and the danger, the apocalyptic danger on the horizon is real, it is visceral and it is swiftly bringing American democracy to the precipice of a “Promethean” dilemma. Our national character and identity is in question. The laws by which we live, the representative government by which our “civil” society is defined, and the people who are the most important ones, as well as the ones who are the most marginalized are ALL on a collision course with TIME. How long must we wait? Not long.