We’ve already tackled Mary Wollstonecraft and Simone de Beauvior, saw two great films, one on Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Not for Ourselves Alone,” and “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter”, an outstanding film on the women who went to work in the factories during WWII, and are moving into discussing the founding documents of the Second Wave. If you missed signing up by the deadline and would like to join us for consciousness raising and stimulating discussion as we learn our history, just fill out the “Contact Us” form at feministstruggle.org and specify that you would like to register for the series and we will make the arrangements.
International Women’s Day marks the second anniversary of the founding of Feminists in Struggle. We have accomplished a lot in two short years, despite living through a pandemic this past year. We have connected with other radical feminists, grown our organization and our network, and raised awareness and educated women with our Feminist Forums on topics such as defending women’s spaces from male violence, the ERA, the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act, reproductive rights, and women’s sports.
We face more challenges ahead, fighting to preserve female-only spaces and programs that are our lifeline, demanding that the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act be adopted; working to get the ERA finally enshrined into the Constitution; defending abortion rights against the forces of the Religious Right and a conservative Supreme Court which is on the precipice of reversing Roe vs. Wade; fighting against pervasive male violence and the exploitation of our bodies and the glorification of prostitution and commercial surrogacy; dealing with the desperate poverty and greater burdens imposed on more and more women; and defending our right to think, speak, and organize as a sex without being threatened with violence or being fired from our jobs.
The good news is that we women, half the human race, the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters of all of humanity, subordinated by males through many millennia, are beginning once again to awake from slumber. And once we open our eyes and find our voices, no one can shut our eyes or silence us.
The radical feminist movement that FIST is building along with many others is still small but we are now everywhere, in every corner of the globe. We are growing, and compared to a few years ago, more and more of us, despite the threats against us, are speaking out. Today there was a protest in Washington DC against Biden’s female-erasing Executive Order and to demand our sex-based rights. FIST was there, carrying our banner. There are weekly international seminars by the Women’s Human Rights Campaign (of which FIST is a proud member) every single week, drawing 400 women from many countries; the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights now has over 15.600 individual signatories, from 129 countries, in collaboration with 314 organizations; the ERA was ratified; the LGB Alliance was launched; Argentina legalized abortion; legislation protecting women’s sports is being introduced in legislatures; and lawsuits are beginning to be filed by de-transitioners like Keira Bell. The tide is beginning to turn.
And while it is not surprising that many of us are feeling battle weary, overwhelmed by the seemingly endless reach of our two enemies–those who would erase us and those who would enslave us, or feeling deeply saddened and demoralized by the sight of so many young girls mutilating their bodies and denying their sex, we need only remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants, suffragists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Christabel Pankhurst, and Alice Paul; and our sisters of the Second Wave, some we have lost like Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, and the many others still marching shoulder-to-shoulder with us. They never gave up. Neither should we!
FIST reaches our hands across generations and in solidarity with all women fighting for our liberation, so we no longer feel so alone.
Please join us! We can do this, sisters!
The first women’s rights convention in the U.S. called by women met in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, over 170 years ago now. The five women who organized the convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Mary McClintock, Martha Coffin Wright, and Jane Hunt were all abolitionists. Their founding document, The Declaration of Sentiments, outlined 19 “abuses and usurpations” cemented in law, including the inability to own property or vote, and asserted the equality of women in private and public life including politics, education, and religion.
The woman’s suffrage movement, which focused on securing the right to vote, required women’s unflagging commitment and the endurance of hardship and abuse before women were granted the right to vote by the 19th amendment in 1920, 72 years after the convention in New York.
The Equal Rights Amendment, written by Alice Paul and originally called the Lucretia Mott Amendment, was first introduced into Congress in 1923 but was never passed. Paul rewrote it in 1943 to read: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” and it was finally passed in 1972 but has still has not been ratified by 3/4 of the states. Thirty eight states are needed to ratify the amendment so it will become part of the U.S. Constitution, and only 35 had done so up until 2017 when Nevada finally ratified it, and 2018 when Illinois finally did, leaving 1 STATE LEFT needed to ratify! The states that still need to ratify the ERA are listed below. Help us get the ERA ratified by their state legislatures!
- North Carolina
- South Carolina