One of my favorite stories in recent days is the one about the 40 or so men in a small town in Pennsylvania who marched a mile in women's high-heeled shoes to raise awareness and money to stop violence against women. One of the marcherssaid that his “red-light-district-red” satin heels “Hurt in 10 different ways. My heels, my soles, my calves, and even my back.” Good for these men to know what we go through!
I read about this march along with other terrific stories on www.vfa.us, the website of Veteran Feminists of America, the organization that celebrates those of us who were active in the Second Wave of the women’s movement. The First Wave began in the 19th century and focused on winning the right to vote, and the Third Wave continues today with activism in our daughters’ and granddaughters’ generations.
VFA defines the Second Wave as the years from 1963 (when Betty Friedan’s landmark book The Feminine Mystique was published) through 1975, the 12 years when the greatest number of women were involved. During this time women took their employers to court to overcome job discrimination, fought for women’s right to be in control of our own bodies, forced changes in credit laws so we could legally sign contracts for mortgages, forced authorities to pass and implement laws punishing rape and domestic abuse, and so on and so on. And we marched. And we protested. And we wrote letters. And we instilled the principles of gender equality in our children, both daughters and sons.
VFA has held reunions and honored many prominent women, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Congresswoman Martha Griffiths; Virginia Allen, former Director of the Women's Bureau; and other greats. Future events will honor athletes, journalists, the women's health movement, and women in business and finance. DVDs of events are, or will, be housed at major women's history libraries. And together with the University of Illinois Press, VFA has published the book Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975. I am immensely proud to be included in this book – and very humble when I read the other biographies of women who did so much to change our society. We have seen tremendous changes in our lifetime, and as a result our children live in a very different world.
Go to the website – you’ll have a good time! You’ll even see a little notice about Super Granny – she gets around. After all, she's a woman of her time.
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