When the editor of WMDSF asked me to write a follow-up to my women’s movement series I put a great deal of thought into it. I then followed up this discussion with friends who participated in the movement from it’s onset. I found it interesting that there was some disparity as to where ‘we’ as women are and where ‘we’ as women and our ‘movement’ are going.
With respect to abortion (remember we were already post college when Roe v. Wade’s decision was made) most of the group agreed that between 3-6 months it should be allowed, with no exception. However, almost unanimously there was agreement that late term abortion should not be allowed, as there is always an option to put the child up for adoption. We were also concerned that young girls, under 18 years of age, were getting uncontested abortions without finding out if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. Young girls could be abused and no one would know. The same could be said of the morning after pill. The abuse could continue with the abuser saying to the minor, ‘don’t worry you can take this and you won’t have to worry’. Both are important to women but we should applaud and apply them with caution. We must protect our young girls from predators.
With regards to the workplace, most felt that a great deal of progress has been made. But it was mentioned that some women make difficult bosses (The Devil Wears Prada). Some even said they would rather work for a man than a woman. I have held that “in order to move up the ladder of success, women have to fight all of the men and half of the women”. Women tend to instinctively hover around men and seek their attention but compete with subvert other women. At the workplace this can make for an impossible work environment. So please ladies, let’s try to support each other more.
It has been shown in a study by the AAUW (The Pay Gap) that men will always negotiate their salaries even at the entry level interview but women seldom do. Colleges should improve the preparation of their undergraduates, so that all are ready for their first interview; what to expect and how to negotiate, so that they are paid for their full value. If this negotiation is not conducted by both men and women equally, the pay gap actually will begin at the first day of work. The men would have negotiated for a higher pay, while the women were glad to get the job and take the first offer. Men are wired that way, we have to change our wiring!
The women in the movie industry are starting to realize that they have to ability to make changes. The women who have become successful (Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon etc.) are beginning to step up by purchasing the stories so that they can direct and produce. To add to that there are some such as Charlize Theron who are holding out in salary negotiations until they have equal pay with the male stars in their films, you go girl!
Unfortunately, there are too many women who are mired in male chauvinist abusive relationships where they feel they are buried in a bad situation for the rest of their life. This is where the movement has to work to make major changes. Women have to help young women understand their right to speak up if their boyfriend refuses to use birth control; having a child as a teenager is the first step to keeping women from their independence and getting an education. If a college education doesn’t seem within reach then giving them a trade through vocational education is a beginning. Financial independence is not the solution but it’s a huge beginning. Too many stay in abusive relationships because of their inability to pay bills. College can follow in the future, but taking care of their immediate needs is imperative.
Women In Politics
More and more women are becoming politically active. This does not mean that we need to pass more laws, but they can certainly take on a mentoring role, speak in more schools and set themselves up as a role model. From this point on it is difficult to take the next step through laws, it has to be action by those who have taken advantage of what the movement has accomplished.
We’ve come a long way baby, now it’s up to us. As Helen Reddy put it…
“I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
’cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again”