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What a Difference a Decade Makes
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B and I are exactly 10 years apart. While I was a young woman (late teens, twenties) involved in the Women's Lib movement and the Civil Rights movement, she was a child and to her the struggles, the progress, have the faint ring of history--mission accomplished.

In my own lifetime, as a young woman, I experienced the surprise and humiliation of not being able to make a loan on my own credit. I had to have it co-signed by a male relative; my mother's signature was not acceptable.

I could not get car insurance in my own name. I had to acquire it by being included on some man's insurance and his name was on the policy as primary insured. Even if I was paying the premium.

This is not mythology. This was the reality in the 50's and the experiential source for much of women's activism of the times.

Nor is the struggle accomplished, though by the laissez-faire attitude of women younger than I (including B), you would think that equal treatment of men and women was a fait accompli. Not so: else why would the Lily Ledbetter Act have been required just in the past few years?

But we have come a long way from the days when women were owned by their male relatives; bought and sold on the marriage market as chattel; when we could not acquire property in our own names; when we could not vote.

Perhaps that is good enough and why worry about the glass ceiling. Aren't we just being too strident and too demanding and too emasculating to ask for equal access to power? Let us be fulfilled by our biological destiny and be grateful for whatever the power elite is willing to grant us. Long live diapers and dishes; a clean kitchen floor is the key to self-fulfillment.

B doesn't like it when I perceive patriarchal domination in our current lives; she thinks I'm a man hater. Not at all. I'm a foe of tyrants, whether of men over women or white people over people of color. It's a larger issue than her little pigeonhole. She does so love to take a quick impression and put a label on a person. No room for modification or growth. But I digress....

I remind my sisters and brothers: The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. If we take it for granted, we risk losing it.

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