Don’t wait for a Gandhi, don’t wait for a King, and don’t wait for a Mandela. You are your own Mandela, you are your own Gandhi and you are your own King. Leymah Gbowee
The personal is political was popularized in the late 60s by Robin Morgan in her classic book Sisterhood is Powerful. Before this women suffered in silence having no idea that the inequality in their personal lives stemmed from larger political issues.
The genius of feminism was to connect these marginalized women into a broad-based, inclusive network of action that alleviated personal suffering and encouraged battles with the male-controlled power base.
The revolution opened the doors to the feminine sources of spirituality, creativity, and intuition connected to heads, hearts, and bodies that finally would give humanity the capacity to balance of all its parts into a new paradigm of co-existing wellness and healing.
And so the movement goes for here we are today with this 2010 US Congressional report: 25 Years Of Progress But Challenges Remain. Here we find white women earned 77.4% of the amount a white man received for the same position. Compared to white men, black women earned only 67.7% of that figure and for Hispanic women, that figure dropped to 58.7%.
It’s not much better in government. The United States is ranked 90th in the number of women in our national legislature. Women hold 17% of the seats in Congress and 22% of all statewide elective executive office positions. State Legislatures are only 24% women and 6 out of 50 states have a female governor. Women constituted 54% of voters in the 2008 elections, but only 24% of state legislators.
While Occupy Wall Street calls attention to the widening economic gaps, it neglects to include a feminist vantage point. In response, women created Occupy Patriarchy to confront the patriarchal system that depends on the exploitation, disempowerment, and subjugation of women both on Wall Street but also occurring regularly at Occupy events.
With so much work still to be accomplished, women are organizing with more consciousness and power. The Feminist Majority Foundation engages in policy development, education, grassroots organizing, and leadership training in issues of women’s equality and empowerment. Their sister organization, the Feminist Majority, engages in lobbying and other direct political action, pursuing equality between women and men through legislative avenues.
The Women in the World Foundation, supported by Newsweek & The Daily Beast, highlights and drives solutions for advancing women and girls through collaboration between organizations and strategic donors.
The Women’s Media Center founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem works to directly engage with the media at all levels to ensure that a diverse group of women is present in newsrooms, on air, in print and online, as sources and subjects.
If you’re hungry, keep walking. If you are thirsty, keep walking. If you want a taste of freedom, keep walking. For us, women of Liberia, this award is a call that we will keep walking until peace, justice and the rights of women is not a dream, but is a thing of the present. Leymah Gbowee