Feminist Friday: Politics And Activism

 

From the beginning of our country’s history, any great change has usually gone through Washington. Government and quality of life are directly correlated, and for feminism to reach a wider society, it is necessary to have a government composed of individuals who believe in such change. However, the responsibility to make our voices heard has usually fallen on the backs of countless advocates who have pushed for change in unlikely circumstances. While we still have a long ways to go towards reaching equality through our government, we must remember the women who fought so bravely for these issues to even be brought to the table. Today is all about females in political office and activists who have worked to create a better, more equal nation.

 

Elizabeth Warren

 

Senator Warren bravely spoke against Senator Mitch McConnell and fought to prevent Jeff Sessions from being appointed attorney general, coining the feminist mantra, “Nevertheless, she persisted”.  Persistence is certainly in her DNA, and Warren fiercely advocates for women’s rights, especially in our current climate where these rights are seemingly up for grabs. While for now, she has no intention of running for president, she made sure to support Hillary Clinton in whatever way she could during the 2016 election. Warren is all about getting more females into politics, and she is stubborn in her belief of equality for all Americans.

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 

RBG was the second female Supreme Court Justice, appointed by President Clinton is 1993. For a time, she was the only woman serving on the Supreme Court, and she is not a stranger to being the minority in the room. In her class at Harvard Law School, she was one of few women, and had to face questions from the Dean such as, “How do you justify taking a spot from a qualified man?” In spite of this all, she excelled, graduating first in her class from Columbia Law School (where she eventually transferred). Using her law degree to help women, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, and dedicated herself to litigation, influencing the Supreme Court before she was even appointed as a Justice. In the Court, RBG is a leading advocate for abortion rights and gender equality; promoting equality for women everywhere through her legal decisions.

 

Betty Friedan

 

Friedan was a tremendous influence in the second wave feminist movement in the 1960s. Her novel, The Feminine Mystique advocates for change in gender roles, arguing against the social structure at the time (where men worked and women were the housewives). This influenced her generation,  and her writing is credited as being the “impetus for the second wave of the women’s movement”. In 1966, Friedan co-founded and became the first president of the National Organization for Women, with hopes of promoting equality in the workplace. She organized the Women’s Strike for Equality, a march for equality and women’s rights. Friedan also fought for reproductive rights for women, as she found the National Abortion Rights League. Her influence is tremendous, and she brought many of the issues we are still fighting for today to the table.

 

Susan B. Anthony

 

 

Susan B. Anthony is a pivotal feminist figure, playing an important role in the suffragette movement of the early twentieth century. She and her dear friend, Elizabeth Cady Stanton teamed up and were the true trailblazers of this movement (friendship goals!). Together, they organized the Seneca Falls Convention and founding of the National Women Suffrage Association. She brought women together and encouraged them to demand equality through one of our greatest privileges as Americans- the right to vote. Although women never were granted suffrage during her lifetime, such equality would have never been achieved without her monumental efforts towards the cause.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Roosevelt redefined the role of the First Lady during her time in office. Not wanting to stick to hosting, Roosevelt challenged the status quo by being the first First Lady to hold regular press conferences or to speak at a national party convention. She made her presence known through her radio show and newspaper column, where she advocated for things like gender and racial equality. She successfully set out to match her husband’s salary, and then donated her earnings to charity. She was quite controversial at the time, and many did not feel like the First Lady should be as outspoken as she was. To most though, she was an inspiring and caring woman who truly cared about the citizens of the country.  After her husband’s death, she was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations Assembly and continued her work as a humanitarian figure. Eleanor Roosevelt did not allow herself to be confined to the norms of her generation, and through her work, continues to inspire women to take up space.

 

In our fight towards equality, it is important to remember where we came from. Here’s to these women and the MANY others who have devoted themselves to the cause. May we be inspired by their actions and take it upon ourselves to be the change.