Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment - granting women the right to vote after decades of struggling for equal rights - American women still face enormous challenges in their daily lives.
The issue of pay equity greatly affects quality of life. Average pay for working women is still just 75 cents to the dollar paid to men in the same position. Promotions and Family Leave remain elusive. 30 years after "9 To 5", the road ahead is long and steep.
Politics have brought forth such inspirational, progressive leaders as Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Kirsten Gillibrand, but reactionaries Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are doing everything they can to turn back the clock on such vital issues as women's freedom of choice and same-sex marriage. The United States has yet to elect a woman as President, an unfortunate exception to much of the rest of the world.
The media has given rise to such heroines as Ellen DeGeneres, who used her fame and charisma to greatly advance the cause of same-sex marriage, Oprah, Bonnie Hunt and the ladies of "The View". Two of the three anchors of the major network news broadcasts are women, and women are everywhere to be seen in cable news and entertainment. The work remains in smashing sexist stereotypes and resulting bias.
Today's women in media follow the path blazed by feminist pioneers of the '60's and '70's : - Betty Friedan (whose "The Feminine Mystique" - in 1963 - greatly questioned the role of American housewives), Gloria Steinem (founder of Ms. Magazine) and Bella Abzug, a great voice in American politics. Women everywhere established a new paradigm in the wake of their efforts.
Domestic rights - in America and around the world - are in serious need of rectification. Women are still abandoned and abused, with sexual mutilation and even murder (so called "honour killings) still accepted in far too many countries and cultures. The fight for women's - and human - rights goes ever onward.
The 15th Amendment - giving freed male slaves the vote - inspired the cause of Women's Suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment. Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony set the stage for the seminal 1848 Convention at Seneca Falls, New York. President Woodrow Wilson supported the 19th Amendment, which became the law of the land when it was signed by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.
Looking toward the future, the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment should be a time to celebrate a quantum leap of progress in the role of women - at home and everywhere else they want to be - all over the world.