Thursday, March 16, 2017
CEDAW Event Reflection
Today we attended a “Cities for CEDAW” event. I wish this event had been held earlier this week (partly because Jackie missed out on a great experience). Seeing all these women from ALL around the nation come together for the same cause was breath-taking. I was inspired by the hard work that women had done to enact CEDAW in their cities. These women have built coalitions with other countless organizations and various educational institutions. I can’t begin to fathom all the time that these women must have gone through to progress this movement. To think that there are MANY other Beths out there is overwhelming. I could not be happier for all of these women in their movement. They have come a long way from having a vision for CEDAW. Women of all ages, levels of education, and experience all want the same basic right to equality. Repeating that out loud sounds crazy especially because it’s 2017. It should be common sense instead of a matter for common law.
Women from out west to the north have fought very hard to enforce basic equality against discrimination. These women are going through extreme measures to convince city and county leaders that this legal framework is necessary. The fact that a commonly accepted framework written by a legitimate body of authority is QUESTIONED seems very concerning to me. What does this tell you about our society? Have women and men really been this socialized to believe that they were given an equal opportunity from the beginning? Are public officials not interested in enforcing laws consistent with its ally countries? Are Americans that surprised when they hear the way people from overseas see us as inherently discriminative? Have they not realized that the rest of the world sees us as discriminative in our current social context? Do they just not wanna do anything about it?
People say they want equality. They rally. They vote and yet there is much left to be done to fight discrimination against women. I truly believe that activism is the key to the solution and that CEDAW is the blueprint to this solution.
One thing that I found interesting was that some of the panelists emphasized the importance of the first lady of the mayor. I thought it was interesting to know that, if the first lady of the city takes interest in CEDAW, then it is likely to get passed as a law. The power of the first lady seems CRITICAL. This is a common theme that is demonstrated in political shows like Scandal. I had no clue that the influence of the first lady made a huge difference at the local level also. Knowing that the first lady has so much political leverage over the extent of the gender equality in one location is both encouraging but also discouraging. Her support is encouraging. But knowing that it takes someone’s wife to fully commit a city or council to providing equality against discrimination is discouraging.
It’s discouraging to realize that voices of all women should are not as influential in our democracy as the voice of ONE privileged woman. A big part of me thinks that this ONE woman should be in office instead of her husband. I appreciate the support but at the same time, it’s discouraging to know that male public officials don’t feel immediately urged to eliminate discrimination. Of course it’s even more discouraging to know that female public officials don’t feel immediately urged to eliminate discrimination against women. My biggest hope is that all local public officials WAKE UP and realize that the common interests of women are in their hands. Protecting the rights of women can happen overnight. I feel as though women have yet to have a champion because there is still a fight. Stagnation is not fair representation. By not protecting women from all forms of discrimination, public officials are allowing our system to remain unequal. I hope they get on board with women because as heavily influential voters, we deserve better. Plus, also, as Eleanor said a few days ago, if they don't pass CEDAW, Zoe could run for their seat.