An Apology to My Daughters, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan Among Others…

As I was reading a magazine today I turned the page to an article about Congress’s First Black Female Republican and I sat there stunned for a few moments. How could this be? I was honestly struck dumb with the realization that this was a milestone that was just NOW happening in the year 2014? Hadn’t it happened sooner? I had assumed that we had all sorts of women of every color and race populating the corridors in Washington DC. I was truly stunned that this was an event to celebrate in the year 2014. Where have the last 30 years gone?

I was raised with the idea that I as a woman could do anything. I sat down in front of the TV back in the 70’s when Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King battled it out on the tennis courts. I celebrated when Billy Jean smashed the ball right past Bobby’s male chauvinist face! Back then being a young woman felt right and my generation was going to change the world.

Tennis Net_Morgue Files

Well, we haven’t.

Although it’s difficult to do I can admit to my personal failure. I got busy raising three daughters and typical, everyday life took over. I am almost positive that I shared a general thought of “Yes, you young daughters of mine can do anything you set your mind to” but I stopped way short of being an activist myself and showing by example that things still needed tending to. In my mind Gloria Steinem and Betty Freidan and a whole group of powerful women were taking care of business and I could just relax.

So where are we today? It feels like we are so far behind where we could and should have been and I blame no one but myself. It is sad to admit that women today of every color and race are still having difficulties earning equal pay and equal respect and are seeing the many rights so many have fought for, so hard in the past, threatened.

king-riggs-tennis NY Daily News Photo

Along with the apology to my daughters for not showing by example and urging them to realize that there was definitely still a battle and it was far from being won, I want to apologize to Gloria, Betty and many others for allowing their efforts to go untended and forgotten.


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