It is international woman’s day and that just pisses me off. For one thing there is no international man’s day. I guess they get 364 days and we get one. You can’t tell me there isn’t inequality in this country because it is evident in actual facts. I am in the entertainment business. Not only do women often get paid less but there are far fewer jobs. Look at the cast list of any action film; there might be two female roles to one hundred male roles. Action films are the ones that do well internationally so this means far more residuals and higher pay for our action stars. Women have always done better in television comedy and yet there are few female show runners. Every year it looks as though the climate is changing but change comes far too slowly. The whole thing just makes me mad.
Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams recently spoke up about the pay discrepancy between their contracts and the men’s in American Hustle. They didn’t speak up at the time even though they are both Oscar winners. If it’s hard for them to speak up think about the rest of us women. If there were an equal rights amendment to the constitution this would make it easier to argue equal pay.
Both of my grandmothers were born before the turn of the last century. They were alive before women had the vote. Though they come from very different economical backgrounds they both went to college and grad school. Neither married until their late twenties and each had a career first. This is uncommon for women of that time and I salute them.
My mother and my aunts also all went to college and grad school during a time when women were often going to college merely for an MRS degree.
Growing up in the 70’s in California we lived in conservative Orange County. Our mother Martha divorced in the early 1970’s and entered the workplace as a single mom. We would go up north to visit my aunts in the bay area. Molly and Su were considered hippies in San Francisco. They took me and my three sisters to events celebrating women like all women’s concerts and art shows. They opened my eyes to the struggle women have in the male dominated world of art. The photo above is of my aunt Su, aunt Molly, and mother Martha taken in the late 1970’s. They were working women in the arts. They all are moms. They are the women who taught me how to be a feminist.
I feel it is my responsibility to speak up for women today, international women’s day, but maybe I should make this a goal in my writing and art every day. It burns me that we are still kept separate and the separation is insidious and often hidden or not even recognized. 96 years after women got the right to vote and 43 years since Roe v. Wade, the peak of the women’s lib movement, women still don’t receive equal pay nor do we have the same constitutional rights as men because there is still no ratified equal rights amendment to the constitution.
My grandmothers and aunts went ahead and did what they wanted. They refused to let their lives be dictated by men. They forged ahead to work in a male dominated society and taught me a lot. I hope to live up to their example.
Here are some articles on things to ponder regarding gender inequality: