We are witnessing an almost daily unprecedented onslaught on many of the rights and freedoms that women have fought for in this country for over one hundred years. Women only received the right to vote in 1920 (a battle that began in 1848), the right to have an abortion in 1973, to have a credit card in her own name, if married, in 1977. Have no illusions, these rights are not guaranteed. The effort in Wisconsin to curtail the collective bargaining rights of teachers, nurses and civil employees is disproportionately targeted at women. That state’s Governor and Legislature carefully omitted public safety positions (police and fire) which are typically male dominated professions. This may have not been their plan but it is the effect.
Simple rights to dress appropriately, but as one pleases, in the workplace are under attack. USB bank of Zurich published a 44 page dress code that dictated the type of underwear (who will police this?), makeup, jewelry and clothing (skirts were strongly implied). After a strong and embarrassing lambasting in the media, they have backed down a bit.
To paraphrase a famous quote, “The price of women’s rights is eternal vigilance.” We must not be complacent; we must revitalize our heritage of activism and get involved. Don’t just sit there, do something. Write that letter, make that donation, call that representative. Your only mistake would be to do nothing.