This is where I was when President Obama was inaugurated. I watched in awe with hundreds of fellow classmates as our country made history. I feel as if it’s a new day now. I feel as if the weight of the world has been taken off my shoulders as I watched Former President George W. Bush along with Laura Bush get on that helipoter to take them away from Washington.
Watching the news yesterday has reassured me that Obama is going to do what’s right for this country. He’s already signed to have Guantanamo closed, he’s going to repeal the Global Gag Rule, and doing so with sensitively. He’s going to do right by our country, and I’m proud for the first time in a long time of what America is and what it stands for. I lost my faith in my country during the past 8 years, especially 8 years ago when Bush stole the election. But you get past it and move on and hope the country will correct the mistakes of the past, and it has now.
Yesterday also marked the day that 36 years ago Roe v. Wade was passed by the Supreme Court. This is a momentous day, because the ruling states that a woman has a right to bodily privacy, to make whatever decisions she feels is right for her to make, not her father, not her husband, not the government. I feel people forget this. I feel that certain groups in our society feel that women are incapable of making educated decisions regarding their body and that they, the government, or someone else who is not a woman knows what’s best for them. The truth is that nobody knows what’s best for someone except that person.
Because of this anniversary, there was a March in front of the Supreme Court in D.C., and man tried to ram his SUV into an abortion clinic in St. Paul. What I find most interesting though is the fact that most of the people who are against abortions and whom are violent toward abortion clinics and patients are men. It’s patriarchy doing it’s thing. It reminds me a lot of the movie I saw about the Suffragettes, Iron Jawed Angels on HBO and all the men who were against them getting their voting privileges. Here’s a photo clip of the violence I’m talking about that was portrayed in the movie.
I’m completely convinced that this violence has everything to do with loss of power and control, just like it did back then, 100 years ago. With every little freedom a woman is given towards the right to form her own decisions regarding her life, her body, and her well-being, certain men simply freak out, and I don’t seem to understand this. I’ve always been priviledged to have my independence, and I was raised to speak my mind and take care of myself, because nobody was going to do that for me, so here I am, taking care of myself, forming my own opinions, and speaking my mind.
Another momentous thing happened in D.C. yesterday: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed the Senate! Here’s what Planned Parenthood had to say about it:
Tonight the Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by a bipartisan vote of 61 to 36, vindicating Lilly Ledbetter’s long search for redress after 19 years of pay discrimination.
“This is an important first step in our efforts to undo years of backsliding on the right to be paid a fair and equitable wage,” said National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy. “The Ledbetter bill will allow redress for workers with the energy and willpower to seek redress in the courts, but we have a long way to go before we have fair pay for women, and laws with real teeth.”
While it is too late for her to receive the compensation she deserved from Goodyear and was denied by the Supreme Court, Lilly’s determined quest for equal rights for women in the workplace led to today’s Senate passage of the legislation introduced in her name. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation next week after an expected concurrence from the House.
The Ledbetter Act, which was blocked in the Republican-led Senate last year, will essentially reverse the 2007 Supreme Court decision that required workers to file charges on a pay discrimination claim within six months after receiving their first discriminatory paycheck. The Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, which reversed the jury’s compensation award to Ledbetter, essentially gave employers the go-ahead to discriminate in pay, as long as they weren’t caught in the first six months after the onset of their illegal actions.
Earlier this month the House passed the Ledbetter Act with a companion bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes that allow employers to pay men and women discriminatorily and provides consequences for that discrimination. The Senate today acted only on the Ledbetter Act, so work on passage of the companion bill begins tomorrow.
But tonight NOW salutes Lilly Ledbetter and promises to continue working for passage of fair pay legislation with real teeth, so that her long journey through the courts and the halls of Congress will not have been in vain, and all workers will be able enjoy a fair, safe and equitable workplace where they can do their jobs and support their families.
Little by litte we are working our way to equality. Little by little women are being freed from the oppressions they face that hold them back from achieving the great things we all know they’re capable of.
It’s been a big week indeed!