U.S. women still wait -- we do not have equal rights in our Constitution. Oh sure, we have some statutes outlawing discrimination, but they've already been weakened by the courts and can be overturned outright at any time by an increasingly hostile Congress.
That is the question posed by one of the musicians in Judy Chaikin's illuminating and joyful new documentary The Girls in the Band, and one of the best lines in the film pointing up the challenges faced by female jazz musicians in the 30's, as well as today.
Sooner than I ever imagined. The something that comes cannonballin' out of the sky when you get older is that you wake up one day and things that were just your experiences, your memories, your life, have become history. It's a surreal feeling.
The only constitutional right specifically guaranteed to women on an equal basis with men is the right to vote, affirmed by the 19th Amendment in 1920 after an arduous 72-year political struggle. The campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment has been even longer and at least as grueling.
Carolyn Maloney most recently hit the news when she asked: "Where are the women?" before walking out of a Congressional hearing on contraception that featured an all-male panel. I talked with her this month on my radio show.
When our female athletes march into Olympic Stadium in London, they will be marching on the shoulders of feminists, male and female alike, who worked like hell against very long odds to make it happen.
If America wishes to serve as an international example of liberty and just governance, we must ensure that all citizens are afforded the same rights and that institutionalized discrimination is made illegal.
Why did Gloria Steinem evolve into a symbol of so much to so many? It's impossible to know. She became a vessel through which some women discovered themselves, their potential, and the strength to advocate for their own truths.
Once we hit 50, we understand life is not unlimited, so maybe now's the time to clarify our priorities. I can only assume that President Obama and his team have been thinking about and planning his legacy for quite some time. Is he on the right track?
It seems like a good time to take stock of how far women have come in this world. From my vantage point, I can't think of a more exciting time to be a woman: We've finally reached our era of great expectations.
Can a country that prides itself as the leader and protector of democracy in the world, and one which implores other countries to include the word "women" in their constitutions, still not protect the rights of women in its own?
The harsh reality is that men like Antonin Scalia, John Boehner and other right-wing ideologues are determined to use their power to keep women down. That is why we need an explicit guarantee of equality for women in the Constitution.