Archive | July 2013

Whatever Happened to the Women’s Movement?

(By Bob Burnett of

Hillary Clinton will likely be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and the odds-on favorite to become the 45 th President.  Nonetheless, while over the last sixty years there’s been a lot of civil-rights progress in the US, women remain second-class citizens.  Whatever happened to the women’s movement?

Historians say the American women’s movement has gone through three stages.  The first focused on women’s suffrage.  The second stage began in the sixties — about the time Betty Friedan published “The Feminine Mystique” — and lasted into the eighties.  It focused on gender inequality.  The third stage arose in the nineties as a reaction to the perceived failures of the second stage, in particular the lack of inclusion of women of color.

On the one hand women have made progress in America.  There are more females as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 21, than there were 60 years ago.   More women go to college than do men.  And women live longer.

On the other hand more women live in poverty than do men.  And despite years of protest and countless lawsuits, women still earn less than men when they do comparable work: “Women on average make only 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.”  And despite the accomplishments of women like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, politics is still dominated by white men.  (Since 2010 the number of female elected officials has declined.)

From the perspective of a straight white guy perched on the left coast, there seem to be three reasons why the women’s movement hasn’t produced gender equity.

First, at the same time women were struggling to gain their rightful place in American society, there has been a horrendous class war.  Since the Reagan presidency conservatives have waged war on the middle class.  Inequality rose as middle-class income and wealth declined.

Second, in their drive to promote corporate capitalism and turn the US into a plutocracy, conservatives targeted the women’s movement.  Modern conservative political strategy dates from the 1971 Lewis Powell memorandum that called upon the US Chamber of Commerce and corporations to become more involved in politics. As a consequence, corporations and rich conservatives spent millions developing a conservative strategy to take over America. They argued that a liberal attack on traditional values had caused most of America’s problems. Republicans became adept at mobilizing resentment and in campaign after campaign Republicans have fueled the anger of lower and middle-class white men and redirected it to fictional groups, such as promiscuous women who supposedly want abortion on demand.

Third, the mainstream media continued to promote sexist images of women. Powell argued that conservatives had to manipulate the media. This led to the rise of Fox News, conservative radio commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, the neutering of much investigative journalism, and a steady increase in sexist images of women.

Progressives must acknowledge the reason the women’s movement hasn’t achieved all of its objectives is because the movement hasn’t had the whole-hearted support of men.  Progressive males have to adopt women’s issues as their issues.  For example, unfettered access to reproductive health services is not exclusively a women’s issue; it’s a human rights issue that impacts all of us. As another example, a giant step towards ending economic inequality is guaranteeing equal pay for women.

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What about the Founding Mothers?!

The 4th of July is a momentous occasion in the U.S.: Parades, barbeques, fireworks and political ceremonies celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which announced the American colonies separation and independence from Britain and King George III’s tyrannical rule. We celebrate our founders, and the troops who sacrificed their lives for the creation of our nation. But in our commentary, there are some crucial people being left out: the women of the revolution. Women were an integral part of colonial society, and later, the Revolutionary War. Their place was usually in the home, where they took care of their husbands, raised children and carried out endless daily tasks: They were butchers, cleaners, candle makers, cooks, farmers, tailors. During the war they also became nurses, activists, camp helpers and even soldiers on the frontline. While we celebrate Independence Day this weekend, we should remember these brave women who fought for and helped to shape our nation.

Here are just a few:

Abigail Adams (1744 – 1818)

Molly Pitcher (?? – ??)

Deborah Sampson (1760 – 1827)

Mammy Kate (?? – ??)

Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784)

To read info on those wonderful women, please go to:

States of NC, KS, OH, and TX passed anti-abortion laws last week

From Weekly Feminist News Digest –

Top Feminist News

Jul 3 2013
North Carolina Passes Harsh Last Minute Anti-Abortion Amendment  – On Wednesday morning, during the last minute discussion of an anti-Sharia bill, the North Carolina state Senate gave final approval to an amendment restricting abortion access in a vote of 29 to 12. Tuesday evening, North Carolina state Senators covertly added an amendment that would severely limit women’s access to abortion services to a bill originally intended to outlaw Islamic Sharia Law throughout the family court system…


Jul 2 2013
Federal Judge Upholds Kansas Anti-Abortion Law


Jul 1 2013
OH Governor Fails to Veto Harmful Abortion Restrictions in State Budget – On Sunday night Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) signed a new state budget into law that includes provisions that will severely restrict access to reproductive healthcare across the state…


Jun 28 2013
Ohio Budget Includes Severe Anti-Abortion Provisions, Heads to Governor – Yesterday the Ohio state legislature passed a $62 billion budget that includes multiple anti-abortion provisions that could all but eliminate abortion access in the state…


Jun 27 2013
Rick Perry Calls Second Special Session on Abortion Restrictions
After a marathon filibuster to defeat an extreme anti-abortion bill, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) has called a second special session in an attempt to pass the anti-choice legislation of Senate Bill 5. Beginning at 11:18 am CST on Tuesday, Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) talked about the dangers of Senate Bill 5, read testimony from women and others who opposed the bill, speaking of her own experience at Planned Parenthood, and discussing the changes the bill had experienced…