When women were intentionally left out of the U.S. Constitution, it was the first wife and mother of a U.S. President (Barbara Bush was the second), Abigail Adams, who told her husband, John, to "not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to forment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."(written on March 31, 1776)
One hundred and forty-four years later (1920), women were given the right to vote. Then three years later in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was introduced to Congress to give women all the other rights granted in the Constitution. It still has not passed and women still do not have constitutional equality. So even though the month of February usually prioritizes the celebration of Valentine's Day, I propose that this year we consider prioritizing instead the celebration of the birthday of Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) on Feb. 15.
Anthony was born on Feb. 15, 1820 in Adams, Mass., and was brought up in a Quaker family.
Because of that, she developed a sense of morality and justice from a very young age. During her 15 years of teaching, she became active in the temperance movement as a means of addressing the negative aspects of alcohol on family life. She could not speak at public rallies because she was a female, leading her to join the women's rights movement in 1852 with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. At that point she dedicated her life to women's suffrage, the abolition of slavery, the right of women to join a labor organization, and the right for women to own property and retain their own earnings.
With gratitude, her work accomplished much that she had set out do, but recognizing her birthday this month reminds us that there is still much to be accomplished. Even though 94 percent of us support constitutional equality for women, we still have not passed the ERA. Women still earn only 79 percent of what men earn, and it is worse for Black and Hispanic women. Women, who constitute 51 percent of our population, make up only 20 percent of our governmental leaders. They remain a huge minority among executives in Fortune 500 companies, with only 5 percent being CEO's. They are a significant minority in the news media and in the tech sector. Retired women are twice as likely as retired men to live in poverty.
And these are just a few of the remaining inequalities.
So in this month when we celebrate romantic love between people, I suggest we all review what
misogyny is and how it demonstrates itself in the real treatment of women in our culture. And as a proud father of four women, I further recommend that sometime during this month you read "The Natural Superiority of Women" by the biological and sociocultural anthropologist, Ashley Montagu. His research may be a help in your review and deliberations. Happy Susan B. Anthony Day!