Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2012 12:06:06 PM
2012 is a year to remember. The 113th Congress we elected will include more women than ever before, including women of all races and sexual orientation.
New Hampshire made a clean sweep with its female governor and all-female house delegation, joining its incumbent female senators. There were also many women taking state and local offices.
One of the most interesting presidential candidates was Jill Stein, of the Green Party. Hardly noticed in the Obama-Romney fracas, her platform pushed for clean manufacturing, renewable energy, organic agriculture, better teacher training and child care, beating the drum for more liberal solutions and attitudes. The nearly half million votes she received showed support for and, more important, interest in her causes.
As I waited my turn to vote, I remarked to the woman next in line that the 19th Amendment and I were the same age. She informed me that she was even older, born in 1917, and that her mother, an avid suffragette, always fumed over how long the process had taken. Why women had not been covered under the 14th Amendment, neither of us could fathom.
Later, I passed this tidbit of history to my 20-something granddaughter. She is too young to remember the bra-burning ladies who pushed for the silly defeated Equal Rights Amendment (silly because of its redundancy), so how could she possibly identify with a figure like Abigail Adams, whose famed response to her husband's "All men are created equal” was the cogent comment, "How about women, John?"
It began formally in July 1848 with Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the first Women’s Rights Convention, convened in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Sojourner Truth, a black woman, spoke at the 1850 convention, addressing the connections between the woman’s movement and abolition. Shortly thereafter, Susan B. Anthony joined Stanton and Amelia Bloomer in campaigning for women’s suffrage and equal pay.
All this is ancient history, along with the stories of women jailed for chaining themselves to voting places. Those who went on hunger fasts were often force-fed to break their resolve. In the age of Madonna and Lady Gaga, it’s hard to believe the world was shocked by Amelia Bloomer and her scandalous undergarments. Imagine her in a Victoria's Secret ad.
Even the world scene has expanded since 1996, when Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, president of Iceland, formed the Council of Women World Leaders with 15 current and former heads of state. Now, nearly 50 members include Angela Merkel of Germany, Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Argentina's Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Perhaps the United States and China will one day have representatives.