Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Today is Women’s Equality Day and feminists are marking it with
op-eds and tweets reminding us all that we have unfinished business.
The changes in the status of women in my lifetime have been enormous and some have become so much a part of the air we breathe that we no longer perceive the extent of the changes. But the extraordinary successes of the feminist movement have not been shared equally. Women with economic/educational advantages have made enormous progress. Of course, there is still a glass ceiling, but as Hillary Clinton famously said, “there are now 18,000,000 cracks in the glass ceiling.”
The cultural change has been so pervasive that many affluent white men have been willing to make room for their daughters—often the same men who have fought against economic policies which would provide opportunities and a robust safety net for the majority of women.
The challenge now is to extend the gains to working class and low–income women trapped on the sticky floor. A revitalized feminist-led labor movement is essential to addressing the needs of women trapped in low-wage jobs, the women who have not been the major beneficiaries of the feminist movement.