Op-Ed Published 8/5/2022
Equitable treatment of women can dramatically impact poverty, education and health at the micro and macro level. Historically, women have been marginalized and, as a result, are categorized as a protected class in the U.S. At present, poor legislative, judicial and executive actions disproportionately affect women.
During the pandemic, I witnessed the successes of men, particularly in Southern culture within which I was raised, propped up on the backs of nurses and graves of educators, not inconsequentially female-dominated professions. Furthermore, women have been driven out of the workforce en masse to care for children, and the five-decade-old Supreme Court decision granting women access to safe reproductive health care has been reversed, setting gender equity back generations.
These words could be found offensive to some. Take a moment, however, to unclench the jaw, breathe deeply and consider a daughter, wife, niece or another beloved woman navigating the current, tragic circumstances of our society.
This is a simple exercise in empathy. Freedom is smothered without it.
Empathy. It is the root of humans' ability to help others and change the world. By practicing and teaching empathy, we have the power to transform lives and escape desperate and disparate circumstances; this intentional action functions as a spark to freedom.
Freedom. Defined as the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action or from the power of another. Current events might lead one to believe that freedom for women has been extinguished. But I know freedom is also the boldness of a plan or execution thereof. Freedom is red-hot action.
Empathy empowers others to join the fire fight. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for those part of other marginalized communities have also been attacked with hostile actions from those in power who lack empathy. Empathy for one another allows us to stand side-by-side as a unified front. A true home for the brave.
Freedom requires representation. Our children need to see women leaders. It's up to all of us to push empathetic women into a seat at the table where decisions are made. Women are needed in the halls of power to speak up, to push back.
Women with empathy will breathe fire to not only protect freedom, but blaze a trail to advance it for generations to come.