Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We Are Women, Hear Us Roar

We are mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, girlfriends, nieces, lovers. We are doctors, nurses, athletes, homemakers, lawyers, counselors, songwriters, test pilots, educators, chefs, scientists, writers, mathematicians, coaches, astronauts, steelworkers, Olympians, manufacturers, dentists, importers, store owners, librarians, poets, race-car drivers, soldiers, activists, entertainers, salespeople, dog walkers, inventors, factory workers, CEOs, CFOs, industrialists, computer experts, photographers, maids, florists, gardeners, filmmakers, actors, architects, explorers, artists, veterinarians, technicians, newscasters, journalists, therapists, models, designers, law enforcement, auto mechanics, psychologists, royalty, entrepreneurs, caregivers, senators, researchers, astrophysicists, prime ministers, physical therapists, FBI agents, etc. Anywhere things need doing, there’s a woman, and she can do more than one thing at a time. Sometimes three things, and many times she can do them better than a man.

YET, on average, we’re paid $.77 for every dollar earned by a man. YET, our insurance rates are higher, though we live longer, which means we take better care of ourselves, but the cost still burns. YET, legislation devised by men wants to make it difficult for women to get reproductive health care. YET, a woman running for president is vilified for decades because she’s a strong, independent woman and because she’s judged by different standards than a man. YET, many actresses are paid less than an actor in an equal role in the same movie or TV series. YET, some men feel it is their prerogative to grab, abuse, and defame women because they think it’s their right, and much of the time they get away with it. YET, people, including other women, judge a woman’s looks and body, but they rarely do the same to a man. Why? YET, there are still dozens of glass ceilings to be broken, and no one seems to have an answer why they haven’t been crashed. YET, women have a harder time becoming partners in law firms, Wall Street firms, and on industry boards and in government. YET, YET, YET…

This year we’ve had some terrific images of strong women. Some are fictional: Wonder Woman, and Atomic Blonde; some are real: Hillary Clinton, the women of Hidden Figures, a new political candidate and retired combat aviator, Lt. Col. Amy McGrath; a tech giant, Sheryl Sandberg; a new senator, Kamala Harris, and a singer/songwriter, Taylor Swift, who refused to let a man get away with what he thought was his right to physically assault her. We are more vocal to our daughters and granddaughters about who they can be, and if they want to reach for that glass ceiling badly enough, they have a better chance to succeed than in the past. Girls and women everywhere are setting new standards, but it’s still like running a race with a man who has a hundred-yard advantage.

Still, we are unstoppable. We are fearless. We are strong. We are smart.

We are women; hear us roar--with a big shout-out to Helen Reddy.

Leave a comment on what you think I missed, who I missed, and where you think we go from here.


Polly Iyer is the author of eight novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and Indiscretion, and three books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, and Backlash. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

18 comments :

  1. Well said, Polly. I just read an appalling excerpt by a woman who was in the venture capital world--misogynistic doesn't even touch it And did you hear Texas now requires rape insurance if women want to be covered if they are victims? We've got a long way to go.

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    1. I didn't go there to the full extent, Judy. What certain states are doing is criminal and, yes, we have a long way to go. Who'd've thunk it in 2017?

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  2. Hidden Figures was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. I had never heard of these amazing female mathematicians and the obstacles they faced before getting recognized for their superior abilities. I imagine there are a lot more stories like that out there if we could find them and write their truth.

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    1. I loved the movie too, Patricia. I wonder if they were white women would the story have remained "hidden" so long. Everything in my blog post goes double for women of color.

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  3. Lately I feel like the ground we have gained in terms of racism and sexism have started to run in reverse. We just have to redouble our efforts. Die off of the older bigots and misogynists will help some, but there is still damage from their indoctrination of the younger generations.

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    1. It is so disheartening, Diana. I grew up in a time when a woman became either a teacher, secretary, or nurse. We've passed that, but it's still a struggle. I hope our grandchildren have a better shot at those glass ceilings.

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  4. You're right, Polly. A LONG way to go. I was lucky. My mom always told me to go for whatever I wanted. in Junior High, a very, very long time ago I gave a speech on pay inequality. It hasn't gone away, but I'm encouraged by my nieces and my great nieces. They're independent, smart as all get out, and won't sit still for discrimination.

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    1. Good for them, Linda. It's a start, but it will only get better when independent, strong women are making the rules and the laws. Right now that's not happening. We're trickling in though. :-)

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  5. I'm still reeling from Judy Alter's comment about the rape insurance in Texas. Another reason I am embarrassed for the state in which I live. If most of my kids were not in Texas, I'd move.

    Discrimination against women is a bigger problem than many people realize. Like racial discrimination, it is often subtle and the "good ol' boys" smile and say it isn't so.

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  6. I wonder how the "lawmakers" would feel if their daughters are raped. The problem I see now is it isn't even subtle. The photo of Taylor Swift shows the guy blatantly with his hand on her backside because he thought he could. Women need to speak out and speak out loudly.

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  7. Amal Clooney springs to mind as another amazing wonder woman.

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    1. Absolutely, Elle. Brilliant human rights attorney. and she has George.

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  8. Women have been victimized for millenniums; that's never been okay. True men, strong men recognize the value of the women in their lives and behave accordingly. Sadly, these seem still to be in the minority.

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    1. I agree about the victimization, but I don't think the abusers are in the majority. They just get the most press. As is standard, we don't hear about all the good guys enough.

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  9. Nicely said, Polly, but in case that "rape insurance" idea appears to be an abnormality, here, from The Houston Chronicle is this: "Texas becomes the 26th state to ban health exchange plans from providing abortion coverage, but only eight other states impose this additional burden [of an additional insurance premium] on rape and incest victims." We are going backwards. The forces among us that believe that minorities and women are taking away rights rather than enriching society are gaining traction, and we will only prevail if we never give an inch. I sound strident, don't I? Sigh. I feel as though I've been at this a long time. Thanks for writing, Polly.

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    1. You don't sound strident as much as frustrated, along with most of women who can parse what's going on in the country. Thank you for posting.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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