I Stand with Women Progressing from Self- to Society-Empowered
My voice echoes millions of others, articulating their concerns, so it should hopefully weigh in. I side with the independent-thinking women, supporting their pursuits of happiness and equality in my blogs and an upcoming book “How They Made It in America.”
And I came to believe that if we want to see tangible progress towards women’s equality – including protection from sexual harassment (SH), we need to distinguish between self-empowered and society-empowered women. It’s time to be clear about these two kinds because without it, we will not be able to capitalize on the progress achieved by women in 2018.
Here’s the distinction.
A self-empowered woman takes a stand and pursues justice on her own initiative.
Hear these women out and you’ll see that their self-empowerment transpires emotional, mental, and spiritual levels—which makes them super-appealing, creating a ripple effect – with other women also rising in the face of adversity or remembering old humiliations.
It took years for modern feminism to progress from suffragettes to its current fourth wave, which, I believe, started with Emma Watson speaking in the UN and the he-for-she solidarity campaign that followed. Women came to realize that collectively they are powerful.
But breaking the glass ceiling and bankrupting the habitual-harassment mentality proved to be not a one-time crack-and-crash: #MeToo took years to erupt—which has been recognized by the media.
Today, it’s mostly the self-empowered women who hold the fort against sexual misconduct – and standing up for themselves, they make America greater, not “great again,” just greater, period. The desired progress is yet to come.
A society-empowered woman is one whose country helps her get justice by elaborating and enforcing the appropriate laws.
It’s a shame that the US is only No. 19 on the Economist glass-ceiling index, in part because our laws do not protect women well enough—not only from sexual misconduct but also on multiple issues that make their lives miserable, such as unequal pay or thinly disguised patronage.
For the American women to evolve from self-empowered to society-empowered, they need more societal infrastructure, i.e., a better justice system. This means we need a new Congress to be more women-oriented in general and to have more women in its ranks in particular. To achieve it in the mid-terms, people need to go to vote “en masse.”
It is a pity that media isn’t much of help: it does not see the forest for the trees as they all keenly cover separate injustice/harassment incidences, while only a few publications draw a bigger picture substantiating the necessity of social norms change. When a writer Margaret Atwood called for women’s movement to progress from crowd solidarity displays to demands to improve the justice system, I instantly felt I side with her. It’s good that America has an almost-perfect body with a mission to help women – the Congress! Collectively, they need to push it to elaborate-and-enforce the law by probing cases of multiple sexual misconduct complaints—and making serial offenders, regardless of rank, apologize and/or resign, as befits the true democracy. The legislators need to outline the vague notions of injustice/harassment and refresh both the rules of workplace behavior and equal pay; they should define more strictly what constitutes sex-related crime/transgression, for the devil is in the detail. The punishment should be reasonable – so that the broader male circles adopt the law as a fair cultural norm. Otherwise, it will stay hopelessly impotent.
This seems to be the most straightforward way to bring all American women to a desirable society-empowered standing.
Indeed, the new Congress should stop disregarding 50.9% of American population—and start working to make all of our women fully society-empowered. Why? This will make America truly great, instead of looking pale in comparison with many developed nations that are consistent in breaking the glass ceiling and bankrupting the habitual-harassment mentality. Each of us, Americans, needs to take these ideas to heart, personally, and run with them until we score the desired numbers. According to Associated Press, nothing is certain on the eve of the mid-term elections.
Therefore – go vote! Make your voice count.
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