Is there progress for women?

Recently, a woman and mother drove her van into the ocean with her children. An alleged abusive relationship was cited but she had to be checked out.

A prostitute was found dead. Prostitution being the oldest profession may be somewhat insidious to any women’s image.

Somehow, these two thoughts may have something in common. An undercurrent of a woman’s image has been undermined with the above loaded, devaluing statements.

March has been designated as women’s contribution to the American society, and yet, they seem to be marginalized rather than mainstreamed into society. One author has stated that having one month for Black History does an injustice. In his opinion, blacks have been a part of American history and not just a side dressing, so why separate? Wow, could it be true? A series called, “Makers: Women who Make America” has been made in 2014, having women’s issues the centerpiece of history in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Stereotypic labels of less than stellar “manly” qualities for women have plagued women for too many years. In the past, single women were not financially responsible enough, being denied credit cards, buying homes and cars. The adage that “it’s a man world” seemed to hold true then, but it still bleeds into the general American societal culture today. Every woman has to be more able (multi-tasker), more available to do more (superwoman) and be as attractive/alluring (to hold down her man), otherwise, she has failed to “be a woman.”

As time has passed, statistics on victimizing women has become a national disgrace. Data from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network cite that 80 percent of females under age 30 have been victims. On March 6, 2014, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand vowed to continue her pursuit of military justice for assaulted soldiers. Her bill would require trained prosecutors and abandoning the permissive chain of command with their justice flaws.

Sixty votes in the Senate would be needed to enact this law since a filibuster was in place. Along with that bitter defeat, on the same day Gen. Jeffrey pleaded guilty to three charges: adultery (military crime) along with two counts of improper relations with other females. He resigned as a strategic move to lessen his penalty for wrongdoing.

Women want to be less marginalized along with having equal human rights as do men throughout the world. Promoting an upgrade of respect and value would be welcomed. The following brave women have been working for that kind of change.

In Russia, two members, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina of a punk rock group were recently released from jail after two years. Their crime boiled down to an irreverent protest against President Putin. Another attempted protest to emphasize their dissatisfaction against the Russian president was during the 2014 Winter Olympics when the militia horsewhipped them in public for their defiance.

During the last 20 years, 35 percent of the Nobel Peace Prize winners have been women. Two in particular are the current president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who spent one year in jail protesting the dictatorship of Gen. Doe along with her co-companion, Leymah Gbowee. They challenged the uncivil use of violating females as a weapon of war. As a final strategy, Pr. Sirleaf and Ms. Gbowee threatened the current dictator, Charles Taylor, to a faceoff. Mrs. Gbowee stated that she and others would publicly disrobe, cursing misfortune upon the men. Her strategy worked. Charles Taylor resigned within weeks.

Now, the most unheard action of being an activist for free girls/women must be Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan. Her desire to attend school along with other females signaled her mission. In this dominantly Moslem country, she was shot in the head for being so bold. Her bravery has been noticed, and the possibility of her being a Nobel Peace Prize winner seems evident. Only time will tell if that happens.

As a final thought, there does seen to be a lack of outstanding examples in the USA. The Grameen Project, started by Muhammad Yunus and his daughter from Bangladesh, was started in 207 in New York City and pushed for more economic independence. Their success has led women to greater confidence and better conditions for their children as a result. Micro finance was the key along with support/instruction on handling money, which provided the necessary framework to breakout of this subsistence living culture of poverty.

“Battle of the Sexes” has been a long struggle for women to have universal acceptance in all areas of living. A woman’s position has usually been one of serving rather than leadership. Taking the backseat, holding her tongue, being gracious along with other humble actions has made more women feel less confident and more culturally acceptable.

But, alas, this archaic kind of thinking must end. Dr. Daniel Amen has proven that women’s brains are superior to men’s in a series of MRIs showing how naturally endowed the female brain is in leadership. Having only daughters in his family could be called the needed push in his research. “Unleashing the power of the female brain,” bringing a future of hope to the dismissal image of sexy, beautiful and helpless would be encouraging, freeing and uplifting to all.

Jeanne Polisoto is a Forestville resident.