We are of sufficient years to recall the 1940’s and the Second World War when America was suddenly attacked. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as part of our country’s defense effort, mobilized all industry, on a more than overtime basis, to meet the potential needs of the war. Factories were directed to operate twenty- four hours daily and labor was truly overburdened. It was indeed, his spouse, Eleanor Roosevelt who was responsible for, and credited with, the establishment of a new compassionate policy toward workers. This determined humane posture on the part of women has been eternally observed and recorded and has been pictorially described as “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”
This is by no means a recently discovered phenomenon. As far back as Fifth Century Greece, the venerable Grecian playwright, Aristophanes, in his classic play, “Lysistrata” enshrined this feature for all time. In the play the women of Athens and Sparta, then at war with each other, (the Peloponnesian Wars) assembled and organized a complete sexual strike to continue until the two states made peace.
Women’s organization and demonstrations have been a regular feature in our country’s development and a decided catalyst for its improvement; war protests, protests for civil and women’s rights, for voting rights, against capital punishment, spousal abuse, gun control, are among the most notable examples. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton and Margaret Sanger are but a small sampling of the many world-class female luminaries who led and thereafter symbolized great causes. Our sisters, when not standing up for our rights, are our mothers, spouses, siblings, nurses and doctors, teachers, social workers friends and fellow citizens.
This historic insistence on equal justice was eloquently and resoundingly made on the very day following the inauguration of the new President; his avowed intention to curb women’s rights and their access to health services, to practice draconian immigration policies, his determined denial of man’s role in climate change, planned elimination of assistance to the needy, opposition to gun control and his bigotry, ignited women’s traditional call to protest.
These televised, completely peaceful public demonstrations and marches took place in Washington, Chicago, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and many more cities in the United States, as well as internationally, notably, London, Paris, and Berlin. It was a statement of righteous opposition to injustice and cruelty as well as to bigotry and reductive ignorance.
These multitudes of public spirited and dedicated American women, postponed life for a day to peacefully, but eloquently, demonstrate their opposition; they travelled and made necessary arrangements at their own expense, marched and showed, by their personal witness, that injustice and unequal treatment are against our American DNA and will not be tolerated.
BRAVO to our American sisters!