Friday, May 14, 2010

Taught to be Second Class Citizens?

Are women taught to be second class citizens?

As Lena Horne once said, "You have to be taught to be second class; you're not born that way."

It may come as a shock to some but women certainly are not first class citizens in the USA. It is historically routine for women's work on behalf of our culture, our careers, our families, and our government to be downplayed or categorized as helping the males in our lives. (But Hillary Clinton has helped her husband and now acts on her own, with or without her husband's help.)

Suffragists worked for decades to gain the right for women to vote, yet continue to be totally ignored by our culture, our government and even by women themselves! Unless they are women's studies majors, most of the young women today know very little about the pain and suffering suffragists went through to finally achieve electoral voting rights.

Arguing the point, remember that we have ten (10!) federal holidays and they all honor males. These are holidays that recognize the achievements of powerful males and the exceptional moments in history commemorating special men (Martin Luther King for example).

No women or woman has ever been so honored. No female has ever been legislatively higher than the current Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosi. No woman has ever been executively higher than several women cabinet members named by the males they supported.

Geraldine Ferraro was chosen by Walter Mondale in 1984 as his vice presidential nominee. Hillary Clinton almost gained the presidential nomination in 2008. Sarah Palin was the first conservative woman to run as a vice presidential candidate when John McCain tapped her as his choice in 2008.

It is bad enough that we are one of the very few western countries to have never elected a woman president or prime minister. If you agree that it makes sense to (at the very least!) honor women suffragists for their work, their sacrifices, their pain, and their suffering to gain the right for women to vote, please go to the website below and sign a petition to Congress asking that this glaring omission be rectified by setting aside at least one special day a year to honor those women suffragists. The National Women's History Project suggests March 8 because it will be 90 years in 2011 since women won the right to vote and the 100th observance of International Women's Day.

And this time, let's not excuse Congress for setting a day of recognition for the suffragists by legalizing the day as a choice between the honored women and the employee's birthday (as they did in MLK's holiday). That act insures the continuation of second class citizenship for anyone other than white males.

For all interested parties, do not forget that it is a Women's Studies group of mostly women at the University of Central Florida who are launching this grassroots campaign to honor suffragists and to rectify the way history and our government have disregarded our suffragists for more than 99 years.

Sign this petition and stay posted to the Weeds blog for more upcoming information about the second-class (!)women in American history:

Mahatma Gandhi, paraphrased, once said:

First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win.

Go for it ladies!