Susan B. Anthony was born February 15, 1820, and if alive, she would be 203 years old this year. If she could join us, I think she would be amazed at the strides that women have made. And yet, is the job finished?
In reviewing the enormous strides women have made, first to mind is that my millennial daughter recently purchased a house in her own name with her own credit, something that was impossible for every baby-boomer woman in this country when they were her age (29).
There was a time in the 19th century, that many “experts” and “scientists” spoke of women’s inferior intellectual capacity. Giving women an education was impossible. Today, over 60% of all master’s degrees are going to women.
In the 19th century, it was totally legal for a husband to beat his wife. After a long struggle, state by state, that is no longer the case.
In Susan’s time, women could not vote, let along be considered to hold public office. Today, women in Congress are 27.9% of the 535 seats.
Despite all these amazing strides, women still need to “FINISH THE JOB” for full equality, respect, and dignity. Women need to be 50% of all decision-making bodies, from the Supreme Court, to Congress, to every state house and corporate board. Fully outlawing gender discrimination needs to be in the U.S. Constitution, by formally recognizing the now legally ratified Equal Rights Amendment. Women need to be free of all ways her bodily autonomy is threatened: free from sexual harassment, assault, intimate partner violence and lawmakers that want to make decisions about her reproductive choices. Women need to be free from cyber-bullying and threats to personal safety.
We need to finish the job by providing government support for childcare, paid family leave, and further tax credits for families with children.
We need to finish the job.
If Susan were here today, I might have seen her leading the January women’s march, and I feel she would have been pleased to see so many men show up for women’s rights. We need more men to step forward as allies so we can finish the job.
Susan, in her last public appearance in 1906, famously said, “With such women as these consecrating their lives, failure is impossible.”
Let’s Finish the Job. Failure is Impossible.
Rebecca Now is the author of Borrowed Courage: Bringing Monumental Women of the 19th Century to Life. More information on reenactors of Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton can be found at: www.voicesofAmericanHERstory.com
2 thoughts on “Susan B. Anthony Would Challenge Us to “Finish the Job””
Very eye opening perspective. Thank you, Rebecca, for reminding us that the job still remains. We cannot rest until all women realize equity.
Excellent piece, Rebecca! Yes, let’s finish the job. Still more to do for sure!