Though male legislators in state after state in America continue to write laws restricting a woman’s right to end a pregnancy, some of our sex continue to insist gender has no place when considering a candidate for public office. Can they really be so complacent? Inequality lies all around us. Start with the simple things. Compare the price of a woman’s tee shirt, a pair of jeans or skin lotion to what a man pays for comparable items. Consider that several states with a sales tax treat tampons and sanitary napkins as luxury items. Equal pay? Don’t get me started.
Any woman who imagines the status quo is good enough is not only permitting herself to take a seat at the back of the bus, but she’s reserving one for her daughter. Life doesn’t stand still. The lines of progress change. We have only to witness the status of once liberated women in Iran.
Sirin Ebadi was a respected judge in her country, but after the revolution, she lost her judgeship because she was a woman. Being resilient, she picked herself up and became a legal defense attorney for others who were deposed by the new regime. For her work, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Unfortunately the recognition did more harm than good. She was forced to escape to England. (“Taking on a tyrannical government—and winning,” by Betsy Fischer Martin, More, March 2016, pgs. 42-43.)
In her absence, Iran’s oppression of women continues. A female’s testimony in court is worth half that of a man’s. The nation has one woman ambassador, the first since 1979, but she is unable to leave the country without her husband’s permission. (Ibid. pg. 43)
Ebadi believes “the advancement of human rights in every country depends on its women.” (Ibid pg. 43.) She looks to the west, particularly those in the United States to play their part by “providing loudspeakers” for gender equality. (Ibid pg. 43.) I wish I could give her hope. But how can I have any myself when too many of our sisters fail to see that we, too, wear veils. We use them to cover our eyes. That way we may remain comfortably blind to our inequality. That way we may embrace the notion that a woman’s leadership is unimportant.