"Where are the angry American women? In all honesty, I've also been watching the men talk about your reproductive issues and saying, Why are these women not angry and beating men left and right?' It's time for women to stop being politely angry."
--Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee
So women will be the decisive factor in the presidential elections, huh? Well, listen up... we're steaming mad and we're going to march. But guess what? We're also going to vote. And that's why all you policy makers better pay close attention to what we have to say.
Last spring, I wrote "From Anger to Action: Why Women Must Get Mad" in which I pleaded with those who are sick, tired and frightened of the daily abuses of women and girls in this country, lack of jobs, pay inequity, toxic air, water and food, cuts in education and health care, wars that never seem to end -- and so much more -- to band together, stand up and say "Enough is enough."
During the ensuing months, things went from bad to worse but women, it seemed, just weren't quite mad enough, or were so weighed down by the enormity of it all we collectively waited for someone to come along to push us out of the depths of our despair. We experienced deeper and more painful levels of unemployment, a dearth of senior level private and public sector positions (in fact, according to recent reports, more women lost government jobs than men thanks to cuts, cuts and more cuts), legislation and programs that would compromise our health and safety and witnessed ultra conservatives referring to women as sluts and comparing us to farm animals. And that's just the short list.
How, we wanted to know, did this happen? How did American women slip so far backwards in the eyes of this country that huge groups of people want to see our rights taken from us? Want to see us give up control of our own bodies? Hope to never see us enjoy equal pay or equal rights? Want to control us and our daughters? How?
It was a very long winter.
But this spring, something miraculously clicked in the collective consciousness of American women, and it was palpable. We got really, really mad. Even Republican women in office became angered (a little late perhaps) by the war on women, as did Republican voters. We grew weary of being used as pawns in an increasingly nasty political game where the only real players are men. And it brings us no joy to know that both political parties are using women in hand-to-hand combat to win the presidential election.
Finally, one woman had seen, heard, and experienced enough and said, "No more!" ...unleashing a movement that was just waiting to happen. Watch this:
UniteWomen.org, an organization that was formed only a month ago by Karen Teegarden and Desiree Jordan, has gained tens of thousands of members (with more joining every day) through the power of social media, the support of pro-women groups such as NOW, National Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and many others. They've organized a one-day march and rally which will happen all across the country.
On Saturday, April 28th American women will join together in non-partisan unity and shout, "Enough is enough!" The days of standing on the sidelines to watch others control our bodies, health, income and rights are over. In every state capital around the country, including DC, women will participate in the "We Are Women March" and shout and be heard. To find out where the march will be held in your state, go the "Unite Against the War on Women" website.
I will be marching (with my two teenaged daughters) in New York City. Recently, I was invited to be one of the key speakers, along with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, actress Martha Plimpton, head of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women Lynn Paltrow, and others who are angry about the state of women in America today... and plan to use their feet and voices to be the change.
No matter where you live in this country, you can join us. No matter your age, sex, religion or political orientation, you can join us. Let's put a stop to the craziness, once and for all.
Need an extra push to bring out your walking shoes and march with us on April 28th? Watch this:
Follow Barbara Hannah Grufferman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BGrufferman