I recently read the quote "Well-behaved women seldom make history." My immediate reaction was to think of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, followed by the women who were arrested for their efforts in getting the vote for women. Hard to believe how badly they were treated. After suffragettes were arrested, they were chained to walls in their cells.
Amazing changes have taken place. Women in America are able to lead successful lives. We are admitted to colleges, we run for office and we dress as we wish. All of these rights have been achieved by women who made history, not by ladies who were content to accept limitations and remain "well-behaved."
There are countless examples of women achieving great prominence. Look at Hillary Clinton, Barbara Walters and Arianna Huffington. Women here are pilots, reporters, attorneys, doctors and astronauts. The list seems endless.
Thinking about how good my life is, I was reminded of a luncheon I attended about 10 years ago where I heard Mavis Leno speak at a Women of Los Angeles luncheon. Each attendee was given an index card with a piece of fabric attached to it.
Until Leno spoke, I didn't know that for years before the U.S. got involved in Afghanistan, she'd been working for women's rights in that ancient society.
Although I was aware that women in the Middle East didn't have the freedoms women enjoy here, her description of life for women in Afghanistan shocked me. During her talk, Leno asked us to look through the fabric attached to the index card. Looking through the small holes, it was almost impossible to see clearly. Leno said, "That piece of fabric is the part of the burqa women look through to see. As you will note, their vision is grossly impaired. When these women put on a burqa, they lose all five senses. They can't see, hear, smell, touch or taste. Because they are completely covered, they must have a companion lead them."
Leno went on to describe the horrible lives these women suffer at the hands of men.
Even in a prosperous, sophisticated country such as Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive.
I have never forgotten how helpless I felt as I looked through the thick fabric and listened to Leno speak. Are these women considered well-behaved? It seemed to me they were treated more like cattle than people.
Although women have made great strides, we're treated unfairly in the area of pay equity. According to a New York Times article printed Sept. 24, 2012, "Science professors at American universities widely regard female undergraduates as less competent than male students with the same accomplishments and skills, a new study by researchers at Yale concluded."
The article went on to say that when a woman was offered a position it was at a lower salary than a man could expect.
Although women in the states may not be treated entirely equally to men, we are not walking around covered from head to toe.
I feel blessed to live in a country that has allowed women opportunities unheard of 100 years ago. Women are shown respect for their intelligence. They are given the go-ahead to take risks. I take my hat off to all of the women who misbehaved so women today are free to pursue their dreams.
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