Monday, April 7, 2008

April 7, 2008—Your Mother Called and is She Ever Mad

Consider This for April 7, 2008—Your Mother Called and is She Ever Mad

According to some sources the average woman in the United States today makes seventy seven cents for every dollar a man makes. You have not come a long way baby. You have been short changed twenty three cents.

For all of the men and women out there, “Your mother called and is she ever mad.” I hold everyone including myself responsible for this terrible situation.

And yes I am biased. I have three daughters and five granddaughters and I want them all to be given equal footing to succeed in their lives.

I teach United States History at Colorado Mountain College and just last week we discussed how in the 18th Century Abigail Adams protested that women were excluded from the constitution. Her comment was that she should not have to obey any laws that did not apply to or mention women. She was promptly told to sit down and shut up.

Some states actually took what she said to heart and added women’s rights to their constitutions. That only lasted a few years and women were eventually removed from the language of those state constitutions.

When I teach the Civil War I tell my students that the war that killed the greatest number of Americans did nothing for African Americans. The slaves kept the same jobs and continued to live in the same houses. The master would pay them a wage and then take it all away from them for letting them have housing and a place to have a small garden. They were in effect still slaves until the twentieth century.

Slavery continued in the United States until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965 both a result of Lyndon Johnson turning his back on Southern Democrats and pushing human rights laws forward. That was the turning point where all of the racist Southern Democrats suddenly became Republicans.

I also teach that one of the reasons we have such a strong nation after 232 years is our constitution. It is very flexible and open to interpretation yet very difficult to amend. An amendment must pass both houses of Congress, be signed by the president and then ratified by a majority of the states.

In the 1970s we tried to do that with women’s rights and it failed to get the approval of enough states and the time limit expired for ratification. The states sent a message to the women of our country that they were not important and did not deserve to have their own rights enumerated in the constitution.

And yes many of the problems have been resolved through other changes. We have seen some women become CEOs of major corporations. We have seen some women become high ranking military officers. But this has been accomplished not by forward thinking governments and business but by individual effort.

There are still important and influential clubs and organizations that do not allow women membership. They need to grow up and look at their calendars. It is 2008 and not 1908.

Another strange thing. More than half of the people in the United States are women yet women are considered a minority. A majority that is a minority. What is up with that?

Imagine your grandmother, mother, aunt, sister and any other woman relative of yours knowing and understanding that in the year 2008 things are still not quite right with women and their rights.

Here is a test to see if your workplace meets the minimum standard. Look around your office, your worksite or your production area. Count the number of women. Not all of the women but count just the women who are either supervisors or managers. If the number is low or zero and all of the supervisors and managers are men then ask why.

Men are responsible for not taking the cause to government and business. Women are responsible in accepting this deplorable situation without complaining more loudly. Again I think that we are all responsible for this very serious oversight.

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