The undeniable “truth” – unlike the truths written by the seven key Founding Fathers who wrote our Constitution more than 200 years ago – is that Women are still not being treated equally in today’s world. But, why is that? We’ve made major contributions in the sciences, literature, and, in short, in every occupational field known to man. We have even proven our worth in times of war…and yet, we continue to maintain a second-class status in these United States. For god sake, a hundred years ago we fought for the right to vote and WON. Did our vote not count? Did we throw away a vote on the wrong candidate? Is power forever to remain unattainable? Not an option ladies. We must take action now.
Despite decades attempting to turn our plight around, Women still struggle in the workplace, in institutions of learning, in the political arena and even at home. Gaining true economic parity or significant political clout has alluded us for too long. For years we’ve trusted in our elected officials to help bring about the needed changes that will allow us to take our rightful places in this society. And, when our issues were placed on hold, we were still loyal to our parties and did not cross party lines. But would that even matter when neither of the parties seem willing to fight the good fight for us. It’s time we create our own candidates. Encourage more women to run for office. Take on the men who claim they can and will represent our needs. Teach these Women the political process and how it works. It is the only way they will learn to navigate in the traditional world of men who apparently have kept us from sitting at the perennial table.
This year marks the Suffrage Centennial for NYS Women and I ask that we “the people” – the sisters, the mothers, the caretakers – do something “special” and believe in ourselves! Elections are coming and many of us agree – the future of leadership in America is female. Yet there is an unspoken and self-imposed exercise their rights to vote – vote for a woman regardless of your “registered” party affiliation and trust that they can be as effective, if not more so, than a man. “Resist” has become a popular theme, but there is no harmony in broken promises, nor is there progress without conciliation or reconciliation. Simply said, in addition to the patrilineal triumphs and success, we are a Nation of apologies, shame and regret in our dealings with Women. We must stop that. Whether you call it “Feminism” or “Womanism” the outcome is the same as we all want to sing a jubilant chorus of “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last!”. We must free ourselves of these shackles and Gender barriers.
On behalf of Women in NYS, I am asking for the magic keys to the car of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. That we may feel the “Power” of what it really means to be one nation, under God, indivisible…and Vote for those whom we identify with…and who look like us!
Sharon Nelson is the President of the Women’s Political Caucus of New York City (NWPC-NYC). NWPC was started by Gloria Steinem, Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug, and was Co-founded in 1971 by Democratic & Republican women with a common vision to support pro-choice and the passage and ratification of the equal rights amendment (ERA). It is a non-partisan organization with membership throughout the United States.