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Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Awakening of Women...

I have read the articles written by various women and I applaud their efforts in contributing to the awakening of women to their true potential and power. I have contemplated the status of women and on the surface it appears that we women have not progressed very much in the past hundred years – and yet, we really have when history is assessed. History is his-story and the greatness of women has long been suppressed.

I was recently told that during the Civil Rights movement it was said that there was no failure because with each step taken, we are and were a winner. I was born in Texas during the time of segregation and grew up in an atmosphere of bigotry, prejudice and discrimination. When I left Texas at the age of 23 and entered the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department, I was immediately cast into a new world and my first assignment was the embassy in Paris. I felt like Alice who had fallen through the looking glass and I immediately shed my ideas about races of color and prejudice.

I left the Foreign Service a much wiser young woman and married a career military man. We moved often and when my husband retired, I had returned to the work force after brining up three sons virtually alone. In the 70’s I began working for the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment. It failed to pass by three votes. Only three more states were needed to ratify it. It has since been reintroduced and I urge you to go to these sites: www.4ERA.org.(the most active site) and http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/.

I was astounded in the seventies to read of Phyllis Schlafly who was an outspoken opponent of the ERA. From what I read she adhered to the outmoded belief that a woman’s place was in the home. Her hypocrisy was shocking because she was wealthy, a Republican, a writer and a paid speaker. She traveled all over the country receiving money for her talks and her articles. I sadly realized that it was the women who defeated the ERA. It wasn’t the men. There were some very powerful women working hard for women’s rights such as Betty Freidan and Gloria Steinem to mention two of the many.

Over the years I have observed and thought about why women aren’t taking back their power in greater numbers and my realization is that the primary obstruction is religion. Religion – and it doesn’t matter whether it be Christian, Islam, Buddhist, or Hindu – has not been kind to women. There was a surge forward in the sixties when women burned their bras and became flower children. This led to the surge for passing the ERA and then what happened? A new religion took over the lead from the established religions.

The name of the new religion is Corporate America or Corporate World. Now we not only have religious programming from childhood and engrained in so many that they continue on as an adult, but we also have the corporate world enticing women to be sexy, beautiful, thin and miserable. One has only to see the offerings of television and movies where almost anything is acceptable. The impact on brains is devastating in that the violence that is promoted creates a false excitement. I remember a few years ago when moviegoers were interviewed coming out of a theater in Seattle and most of the words I heard were “great action.” Action has become the new word for violence. Am I anti-religion? I am anti-hypocrisy and any religion that deprives women of their status as equals is hypocritical.

For a woman to become liberated, there must come a moment when she asks, “Is this all there is?” For many they have reached that point and are confused, angry and often resort to drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol, which only compound the problem.

Fortunately there are women who have awakened and are carrying the torch of freedom, each in her own way. We are the teachers of our children and for some of us the teacher of our grandchildren. We have a role to play and we can provide women with information from our own experiences. We can be role models and create forums and websites such as Gather the Women and Women of the Blue Rose. We can write and perhaps something we write or say will strike a cord in a woman and she will want to know more. We set an example by doing.

I was extremely moved by the Care2 ad having women walking across the desert sands chanting “I am powerful.” We are and we will each find our own niche where we can be a beneficial presence. We can raise our voices in unison for women all over the world to move away from the strangling cords of religion. Religion is not spiritual. Spirituality does not need a religion. Spirituality knows no prejudice, discrimination, or hatred. Women and all people must have their brainpower restored.

Adding to the mantra of “I am powerful,” I have added for myself: “I am genius. I am powerful. I am wonderful. I am liberated.”