Archive for August, 2013
What can we do to encourage women’s rights and LGBT rights advocates, to join ranks with racial equality advocates? I see many racial equality advocates defending the rights of women and the LGBT community, but not the other way around. We need each other to move ahead, how can we get all communities involved in all issues?
Here was my thoughtful response to this thoughtful question:
From where I stand, when women allow themselves to be continually subdivided by race, we uphold a racial divide while ignoring our shared experience as women. Discrimination on the basis of one’s sex exists across all races. Though it may appear that other human rights advocates aren’t “joining ranks” in the way that you believe they should- does not mean that their actions are not furthering racial equality.
For example, whenever I give talks about equal rights for women, I underscore that the beauty of the Equal Rights Amendment is that it applies to ALL women regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, ability, etc…. There is no better foundation to establish ‘equality and justice for all’ than to lift the status of ALL women and girls who are 1/2 the members of every society. I named my company, United 4 Equality, LLC, when I realized that we are all fighting for the same thing – basic dignity and respect as human beings (however our experiences define that). I believe racial inequality remains elusive because Women have never been encouraged to embrace our similarities as much as our racial or other differences. When equality for ALL women is finally achieved – our culture will be transformed for the betterment of All.
America must ratify the ERA because the missing link to the elusive American Dream and to ending wars, corruption and human suffering is ALL Women. Women naturally possess compassion, caring, character, commitment and creativity – the likes we have not and will never see in a world completely dominated by Men- of any race! Women must have autonomy in the U.S. as citizens and not have our lives governed by a system written by white men and reinforced by all men. I believe when American women “taste” what equality feels like, we’ll be inspired to work together to help our Sisters worldwide to obtain equality and justice also. Constitutional equality will not be easy, but it is possible! And it is sustainable no matter what party is in power. So, my vision entails equality and justice for All of us… though I may believe in a different approach to arrive there.
From: The White House <email@example.com>
Date: Monday, August 12, 2013 7:28 PM
Subject: Petition Response: We Support the Equal Rights Amendment
We Support the Equal Rights Amendment
Thank you very much for your petition about the Equal Rights Amendment; we completely agree that it’s an important priority. Earlier in his career, President Obama cosponsored the Women’s Equality Amendment when he served in the U.S. Senate and, as a State Senator in Illinois, he sponsored a joint resolution ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment. Over the past four and a half years, ensuring that every American has the chance to get ahead — regardless of gender, race, faith, or sexual orientation — has been at the center of President Obama’s agenda.
Equal pay is key. In fact, the very first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extends the time period in which claimants can bring pay discrimination claims. He established the first White House Council on Women and Girls, whose members are charged with ensuring that federal agencies consider the interests of women and girls in their programs and policies. The President established a National Equal Pay Task Force, which is cracking down on violations of equal pay laws at a record rate, and he recently issued a presidential memorandum requiring federal employers to take concrete steps to address any gender pay gap in the federal workforce. The President also continues to advocate for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act by closing the wage gap, improving anti-retaliation prohibitions, and providing appropriate remedies for women subjected to discriminatory pay practices.
At the same time, equality isn’t just about wages; it’s about opportunity. That’s why this administration has also been working to expand educational opportunities for women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and increase the inclusion of women in the tech sector. Equality also means the right to live in safety, which is why the President recently signed a renewal and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act. It’s also why Obamacare requires insurers to cover potentially life-saving preventative care, and FDA-approved contraception, at no extra charge.
Still, we have a long way to go. Today, women on average are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. In a nation founded on the understanding that all of us are created equal, that’s not only unacceptable, it’s also self-defeating. Women are the primary source of income in almost 40% of American households, and women make up over 40% of the workforce. Gender equality isn’t just a moral issue, or a “women’s issue.” When women do well, our country does well. It matters for all of us.
We’ll keep fighting to close the wage gap and ensure equality of rights under the law for all Americans. Thank you again.
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