Women’s History: Fundamental Rights for Women

Standing up for human rights has always taken courage. Many women still fight for their natural human right to exist and experience true freedom. It is one thing to have financial freedom, and it is another thing to have access and opportunity. If one is free and carries the burden of providing for their family, it is still an arduous task. Coupled households face economic challenges, and the job is even more daunting if you are a single parent. Finances and freedom go hand in hand, as we need both to survive and thrive.

For women, the idea of survival is increasingly complex.

Those who hold power to make decisions over our lives play a significant role in what opportunities are available. For example, take the city of Ghazni, located in southeastern Afghanistan, and under the control of the Taliban. Women’s and young girls’ rights have been curtailed to almost nothing. The Taliban has banned secondary education for women and girls, and altered the curriculum to focus on religion, appropriate clothing, and where women and girls can go. The Taliban strictly dictates all aspects of female life. It is difficult to function when your future is uncertain, and it is even more difficult when you are not allowed to make any decisions that affect your life. All members of a given society are dependent upon the leaders who control who experiences freedom and who do not.

Here in the U.S., women’s rights have triggered debate.

There are endless arguments over the right to choose. Should someone else decide what happens to your body? Is it about religion, souls, and beliefs, and do we care about human life? The indoctrination of beliefs is clever. While we teach our children to be independent thinkers based on unique ideas, standards, processes, and procedures, we know that some people fear that this open mindedness will create unfamiliar and uncomfortable changes.

There is a collision of personal beliefs and teachings within and outside of the home.

These worlds collide at some point, but if human compassion and empathy aren’t a part of this dynamic, who benefits in the long run? While California has a California Equal Pay Pledge, women still earn 88 cents for every dollar men earn, and the gap is even greater for Black, Latina, and Native Women. There is still a lot of work to be done in access and opportunity for women, and having the courage to do so falls on everyone’s shoulders. If you are comfortable and all is well, it’s hard to be empathetic. Women like the courageous Ida B. Wells understood the issue.

Ida B. Wells, born into slavery in Mississippi, was a journalist, teacher, and feminist and was a key player during women’s suffrage.

By the time she was six months old, President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Ms. Wells was a well-known journalist, and wrote about the issues faced by Black Americans, including the abhorrent lynchings that were commonplace at the time, and the problems faced by women. She held key roles in the National Association of Colored Women and the Alpha Suffrage Club.  As a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP), Ida B. Wells stood up for the fundamental rights of all people, both male and female, and we salute her.