Women's Rights and Women's History, Today and Tomorrow

Women's Rights and Women's History, Today and Tomorrow

by Doyle Ranstrom on Mar 23, 2023

When my mother was born, women could not vote.  Women, at that time, had been and continued to advocate for the women's right to vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.

When my mom became a teacher in her early 40s, she found out that she had to apply to the school board for head of household pay.  Today, no one would think that women teachers should be paid less then men.  That is because at that time continuing thru today women have advocated for equal pay for equal work.  

When I was in college Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land.  I never thought that would change.  Turns out I was wrong.  

When my daughter was born, I knew she would face some sexism, but I hoped by the time she was an adult, it would be mostly a thing of the past.  Turns out I was wrong again.  

My hope and goal is when granddaughters become adults, they will not face sexism, but that will take a lot of action today.  

March is Woman's History month as we honor successful women from all walks of life who made great contributions to our society.  But we must remember, the women whom we celebrate during Women's History month were not out to make history, they were:

  • Fighting injustices, personally, socially or both.
  • Striving to be successful in whatever careers they may chose when men were blocking them not because of their knowledge or skill, but because of their sex.
  • They wanted the right to vote which led to being elected to public office.  
  • Advocating equal pay for equal work and fighting against the glass ceiling.
  • They wanted their daughters and granddaughters to grow up in a society that was free of sexism and sexual predators.
  • And they wanted any and all health care decisions, to be made by individual women and their family/friends along with their professional health care workers. 

This is to just name a few, there are more.  

Though women's rights have got better since my mother was born, there is a long ways to go.  And the push back against women's rights continues and in some respects has gotten stronger.  

Today women and men who support equality and fight sexism need to continue the battle.  It is not over by a long shot.  Women's health care is at the forefront now, and it should be, but the other issues are still there.

Regarding health care, specifically abortion rights, its interesting and a sad commentary that many in the anti-health care [abortion] group often rely on the following arguments.  

  1. One is the religious argument which is not based on the teachings of Jesus, but is based on the rules or regulations of a specific religious group or denomination.  Though common in the classical world, there is no mention of abortion in the Gospels.  If fact, the Hebrew word for abortion is never mentioned in either the OT or NT.  The point here it to not get into a religious discussion. The point is it has no basis in a Women's Health Care, specifically abortion discussion.  Some religious groups do not believe women should have abortions other religious groups believe it is a woman's absolute right to choose to have an abortion if she believes this the best choice for her.   With freedom of religion, this is as it should be, but in no way should an individual or small group of religions enforce their perspective on women's health care.   
  2. Two is the right to life argument.  This is very hollow or shallow argument to me.  A study in 2020 a Guttmacher Institute found there were less than 1 million abortions in the US.  By comparison a recent study found that over 12 million children are struggling with hunger in the US.  The Gospels are very clear on feeding the poor.  Or, according to research almost 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded annually and approximately 3 million kids are exposed to gun violence.  The CDC states that gun violence is now the number one cause of death for children age 17 or younger.  The Gospels are also very clear on violence and protecting children.  

A society which does not feed its children or protect them from violence should worry about solving both as its highest National priority and really does not have any time or money for anything else until both are addressed. 

Since neither the religious or right to life arguments hold any a water, it seems to me it comes back to Women's Rights.  Women should have the right to make any or all health care decisions related to their personal health.  I do wonder if women are not equal in health care how does that affect the move for equality in other parts of society, work and/or politics.  I also wonder if sexual abuse is in part related to control over women's health care.  In these senses, women's health care is a fundamental women's rights issue and I suspect how the abortion battles goes will be a factor in the progress of other women's rights issues.  

In other words, I suspect that in twenty years Women's History Month will look back to this time period either find it a turning point for Women's Rights or the beginning of the loss of Women's Rights.  As a father of a daughter and a grandfather to granddaughters, I will do whatever I can to improve women's rights.  

A short-time ago, I ready story about a man who was gay and married with two children.   The article told how he had written an email to all his family members and friends that if they voted Republican he would no longer have any contact with them.  He said this because of the Republican party's stance against the LGBTQ community.  Specifically he said,

  • "Hear me clearly — you cannot vote for the GOP and continue to have a relationship with me. No exceptions. I am inviting no dialogue, and I have no interest in nuance...The safety and peace of me, my husband, and my community is baseline, non-negotiable, and unrelated to politics...To vote GOP is to divide the family."

I would suggest the same type of "line in the sand" commitment has to be made with Woman's Rights in general and abortion in specific.  This does not mean ending contact with someone who for one reason or another is against abortion as a personal philosophy.   It does mean that anyone who supports politicians who pass laws against abortion access is the same  as supporting and passing laws against Woman's Rights.  Again, I would suggest twenty years from now, Women's History will be determined by those who make this commitment for Women's Rights.  

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