Women’s fight is not over
Dear Editor:I recently read, and enjoyed very much, Bonnie Behrend’s upbeat and encouraging opinion on the victory for women that Katie Couric won by becoming the first woman in America to hold solo the top seat at CBS News (The Aspen Times, April 8).However, her notion that this is the grand finale, the “icing on the cake” for fight for equal treatment and equal rights started by the brave women of the ’60s is outright laughable. The young girls of today may indeed take it for granted that they could become the mayor, a doctor, or the anchor on the evening news, but they would probably be shocked and saddened to know that the United States Constitution does not protect their human or civil rights to the same degree it does their brothers’, because for 30-plus years our government has failed to pass the Equal Rights Amendment that would finally and effectively render that great piece of social advancement gender-blind. We are precariously poised to take a giant step back in the fight for women’s equality and dignity as our sovereign right to control our own bodies has currently been outlawed by the state of South Dakota. Yes. Lawmakers in that state voted earlier this year to outlaw abortion. No, no exceptions were made for rape victims or a woman’s life.I encourage Ms. Behrend and the editors of this paper to take a hard look at the statistics on violence against women in America: 1 in 6 American women will be raped in her lifetime; half of them will be minors when this horrible violation happens. Every year, 2 to 4 million women of all races and classes are beaten by their husbands or boyfriends, and pregnant women and new mothers are more likely to die of murder than of any other natural cause – more than will die of cardiovascular problems, embolisms, accidents or birthing complications. The epidemic scale of life-threatening violence that women face each day at the hands of the men in their lives is certainly an indication that we are not ready to put the icing on the cake.Young girls should be encouraged that so many opportunities are opening up for them, and Katie Couric deserves our admiration and support for being such a positive role model for our daughters. However, it is important for them to know that although we have come a long ways from the time when women stayed in the kitchen and held their tongues, we are not finished! Considering that only 17 percent of our elected leaders are women, it is long past time for cultural institutions like newspapers to start championing the cause of getting more women elected to office so they can lead the way to true equality and justice for women and peace and harmony for America!Jesse KirkpatrickAspen
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