March eighth marks the 100th anniversary of the first celebration of the International Women’s Day. I watched and heard several TV and Radio shows that devoted part of their morning programs to this very significant day for women around the world. Yet, I could not help to think of a commercial slogan that was launched by a tobacco company to promote a new brand of cigarettes that would somehow liberate us even more. The slogan: “You’ve come a long way baby.” I agree that we have accomplished many feats and that we have been empowered by the right to vote. Many women manage large corporations and are creative entrepreneurs. Women leaders emerge in all facets of business, politics, and the creative arts. Women have learned to invest and become more economically independent: we learned to network and create important partnerships in different field. We have more medical doctors, lawyers, Supreme Court justices, circuit judges, architects, scientists, representatives in the congress, in the senate, in state assemblies, and in city councils. There is no doubt that we have come a long way.
In the United States, we have had many women attempt to run for the presidency. Young people may not be aware that many came before Hillary Rodham Clinton. We had the first African American women candidate, Shirley Chisholm in 1972. I invite you to see a complete list on Wikipedia. Since 1872, women candidates emerged from all walks of life and representing a diversity of political parties. We are accustomed to seeing the two party nomination system and very seldom realize that others with perhaps less resources and often less popular profiles go in pursuit of right and privilege of serving as president of the United States. Globally, more women have managed to lead their country as president, vice president or prime minister. Women have been the maximum leader in countries like Turkey, Haiti, Poland, Canada, Nicaragua, and Pakistan to name a few.
I am proud to be a woman. George Bernard Shaw once said that “women are life’s force.” And we are. The problem that I see is that we do not believe in our force. We still die from breast cancer at higher rates than anywhere else in the world. We are paid a lower rate than men performing the same job. We are still among the most battered and sexually harassed and assaulted women in the world.
We have come a long way. We must continue however to make sure that our gentleness is not confused with debility. We most continue to be very much aware that we are an economic force in this county. We count. We are life’s force.
The celebration of the history of women started only 100 years ago in this country. However the history of women is as ancient as the history of men on this earth.
International Women’s Day started when in 1910 the International Socialist Congress officially declared March 8th a day to rally around the accomplishments and contributions of women. I say we have a long way to go. We have many women in this country that have the economic power to make a huge difference in the political arenas. We must unite and match the score of our sister countries that believe in the power and life force of women in everyday life and in the political life of a nation. We have come a long way baby; let’s go all the way ladies.