In conclusion, our society functions on a system of sexual rewards and class division where women have to fit by choice or by force. Rights and liberties depend on status, gender, and economic and social class, and poorer women have far less means to protect themselves. Women’s rights have improved tremendously, but they are not necessarily linked to politics even though parity with men's wages and reproductive choice continue to be the subjects of endless rhetoric of politicians who want to deny them.
Why do conservatives hint at restricting abortion, and even birth control methods? What could be the actual motive, if not to regulate women’s sexuality in an effort to make it again a symbol of domination and reward. History offers disturbing examples of this model over and over. Everything is a battle to control wealth and power. That means that women’s rights will evolve accordingly, and will even be more defined by class. Alexis Zeigler wrote a wonderful piece, “The Past and Future of Women's Roles in America” (http://www.conev.org/women.html), assessing this theory, and explaining the role of women now and then. As she says so eloquently, “Things change when people rise up and make them change. Power is never given, only taken. In our society, economic changes set the stage of politics. Economic and ecological changes create opportunities that social movements can take advantage of…”
It is safe to say that there will always be women out there to fight injustice, and make a better life for themselves and their families. Minorities, and communities, such as the LGTBQ+, have joined forces to influence politics, too. The Black Lives Matter movement is another demonstration showing that, if enough people are sufficiently organized, they can make a difference. But there is still a long road ahead for all. Alexis Zeigler adds, “The fate of women's rights in America, and globally, is inextricably linked to the fate of society as a whole… The only way we are going to avoid the dark patterns of our past is by taking much greater conscious control over the shape of our society. That will involve educating ourselves and each other about the matters so suppressed, avoided, and disdained by political and academic traditions…
We have to remake our society, consciously, purposefully, profoundly, or it will be remade in the mold already cast.”
Protest march in response to the Jamar Clark shooting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Nov. 15, 2015. Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota.
13 | Ceres Magazine | Fall 2016
Wonen's struggles for pay equity, abortion rights and other rights continue today. Credit: Clarissa Peterson.
http://people.howstuffworks.com/men-women-roles-changing.htm, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/jun/15/childrensservices. familyandrelationships, http://www.conev.org/women.html, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_role, https://prezi.com/0l1sr792l_qq/the-new-england-colonies/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonial_history_of_the_ United_States, http://www.historyrocket.com/American-History/colonial-america/Women-Rights-During-Colonial-America.html, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Wollstonecraft, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffragette, http://www.nwhp.org/resources/womens-rights-movement/detailed-timeline/