“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.” – Margaret Atwood
Too often in our day and age, we take our freedom of self for granted. As a woman in 2015, I can own a bank account. I can sign a legal document. I can own property – I can inherit it even. I can be a physician or a lawyer or a marine. I can vote. I can even stand for election if I so choose. And why the hell not? I’m a person after all.
However these seemingly logical freedoms were not always possible for women. I know that you know this but rare are the moments when you actually think about it though, right? I voted for the first time this year. I did it with a sense of duty as a Canadian citizen, but not once did it cross my mind that I should vote simply because I am a woman and that there was a time I could not. The reality is that until 1920, women in our great land weren’t even recognized as “persons” in the eyes of the law much less vote. Yet there I was, submitting my electoral choice.
Obviously, these rights didn’t forge themselves. It took an army of strong willed woman throughout the years to make change happen – several of whom were writers. But in spite of all this advancement, I can’t help but feel that somewhere along the line our progress stalled. We accepted the status quo even if it hadn’t quite reached full equality status and the women’s rights movement became somewhat of an unfinished business. I can’t be the only person out there that sees shame in women making only 81% of the medians of our male counterparts. I have a daughter. I’d like her to see the day when an employee’s wages aren’t determined by whether or not they have a penis.
In sociology, we learn that education has the power to initiate social change. So for my own personal education, and hopefully for yours as well, every now and then I will post a piece featuring an influential woman writer who has made a difference. I hope they inspire you to truly recognize your worth as a woman (or if you are a man, the worth of the women around you) and to stop accepting a world where the combination of two X chromosomes makes you inferior.
Keep an eye out for this week’s post about a person (because legally today, she would be granted that title) who envisioned a future when women could pursue virtually any career opportunity they desired and did what she could in order to make that happen.