Roe v Wade was re-decided Friday, June 24th. And in a blink of an eye my mission to normalize aging for women was rendered inane. How can that happen?
How does a movement to create a new paradigm where women are seen, heard, and appreciated FOR their age and wisdom not despite it become unimportant?
If you haven’t already figured it out, I’ll tell you.
When constitutional basic rights over our own bodies and health are revoked, stripped, erased. Erased, like we never had them. Do they expect that we will submit? Do they?
Roe v Wade A Part Of Our Lives:
“We’ve been working so hard for so long to garner the same respect and rights as our male counterparts on this planet.”
Many of us know no time before Roe v Wade. I myself was only nine when the landmark decision in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States generally protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion was decided. My whole life I lived with this right, this freedom.
It’s exhausting and demoralizing for many of us in the marginalized sectors of the population. And I say that cautiously. I know. I know that as a person who is educated, presents as white, is cisgender and currently in a heterosexual relationship, I have it pretty easy. Never will I pretend to know what it is like for others who fall further outside what has been determined as the “American setpoint”.
But I am also a woman. And in America today, especially this week, that feels way outside the American setpoint, which is pretty obviously cisgender Christian male.
We’ve been working so hard for so long to garner the same respect and rights as our male counterparts on this planet.
The Fight’s Been Long:
Access for our daughters to sports (Title IX, 1972).
Financial independence (in case you don’t remember, before the Fair Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 women were not allowed credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts in their own names).
“Is anyone else exhausted yet?”
Health care – up until 1993 women were considered “small men” therefore no real imperative to study our physiology in clinical trials. This alone has set the stage for so many long-term health issues for half of our world’s population.
Clinical trials are at the heart of all medical advances. It is in these studies that new drugs or drug combinations, new medical devices, new surgery methods, new ways to utilize existing treatments, new behaviors are discovered to improve health, and new ways to improve quality of life for people with acute or chronic illnesses are discovered. Their reasoning: They literally stated that there were no significant sex differences in regard to medication response, and therefore no need to study women separately. And in the same breath stated there were concerns over having to adjust for women’s fluctuating hormone levels; and concern over reproductive effects. Do you see the breakdown in logic here, or is it just me?
Access to executive positions in corporations. It took the suicide of a husband to put a woman in a leadership position in a company in 1963. Katharine Graham , the first woman CEO ever, wasn’t selected; she inherited. She then grew The Washington Post’s revenue by more than $1 Billion. Earning every single victory and accolade thereafter. And sadly, a whopping 59 years later women are still undervalued and underrepresented. Even though we make up about 50% of the population, as of 2021, we only have 26% of the CEO or managing director roles.
Equal pay (still not there). Despite the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a pay gap still exists. Studies show that even today, women make $0.82 for every $1 that men make, which is the same as last year.
Is anyone else exhausted yet?
The List Is Long:
Trust me when I tell you there are dozens of other things we’ve had to fix, make right, change, just to be able to live with similar rights and privileges as the other sex that walks around the planet. If you’re curious, check out this History.com’s Women’s History Milestones: A Timeline.
Yes, it’s been non-stop work by many to make these strides. Strides to gain access to what men have never missed, never been without. And while it’s been and continues to be heavy lifting, for me, at least, it has felt like a slow and steady climb up. Until now – when our Supreme Court re-decided 1973’s Roe v Wade.
“How can I continue the battle to be seen and appreciated when a pillar of equality has been destroyed?”
A seemingly innocuous word on its own. The impact on half of the U.S. to re-decide Roe v Wade? A devastating setback on our personal freedom, our self-determination erased.
Today my fight against ageism, my passion to keep women visible, relevant, important in midlife & beyond seems banal and pointless. How can I continue the battle to be seen and appreciated when a pillar of equality has been destroyed? It’s like picking out a prettily framed picture to place in a home with a rotted foundation. Gotta go back and fix that foundation first, don’t we? Again.
Today it feels like we’ve been plucked out of the end zone right back to the starting line. How can 50 years be wiped away? Do we really need to start all over again? Yes, again. And, bloody hell, I am so tired.
But yes, we will fix it. Again. Let’s get to work, ladies….and gentlemen. (I know we have a very large contingency of advocates out there. We need you now more than ever.)