I'm not writing a long post today, but it's going to be sincere and heartfelt. I want to recognize the many, many men who support women's economic and power parity. Our movement has been mischaracterized as being populated by a bunch of man-haters. We've often been accused of alienating men who want to fight on our side. At the very least, we treat the men in this struggle as minimal allies, as people who need to just get out of the way and if they can live with that mini status, then they can join us.
I'm here to say today that if we have given that impression, we have been wrong. It can be easy for us to minimize our male supporters because our enemies are often, well, male. The obstacles in our path are, well, mostly men.
But it would be wrong to assume that all men are the same. I'm here to tell you ladies, that that is simply NOT true. For instance, a poll was run recently that said that while 8% of men said they would never vote for a woman for president under any circumstances, 12% of the women polled said the same thing. Clearly we seem to have a bigger problem with women!!! Who'd have thought that?
In the end, we must recognize that there are alot of men extremely sympathetic and supportive who want our equal rights as much as we do. I run into them all of the time. For example, I started our Women Win Too page on facebook recently (and feel free to click on the "like" sign on the right of this post!!), and interestingly, the first wave of members were almost all men!! I was so surprised to see that, but when I got to thinking about it, I shouldn't have been. After all, how many men write to tell me how much they support what we are doing? Lots of them, all of the time. I also remember the gentleman who commented to me that what was the big deal about paying women the same as men? He was retired, but he had run his own business for 40 years and had ALWAYS paid women the same as men. Said that it didn't matter what body they were in if the work got done. Boy, I can think of lots of women who'd wished they had worked for him!!
But more to the point, I think of all of those men who supported Hillary Clinton for president because they too longed for an historic female presidency. They wanted it because they had watched their widowed or divorced mothers struggle to support them when there was no opportunity for women at all. They wanted it because they had seen some injustice destroy their sisters somewhere along the way. But most of all, they wanted it for their daughters. I remember all of those little girls being taken to see Hillary Clinton make an appearance or give a speech. Those daddies hoisted those little girls high above their heads so they could see Hillary and say to their daughter "see-------women can be anything they want to be. You can dream of being the President of the United States. Look up there my daughter, you can do it too." It chokes me up every time I remember seeing all of those little girls and their fathers with all of that pride and longing.
We know now that although it is nice to tell our daughters that they can be and do anything they want to do, the truth is something different. I say these stats over and over and over again, so let me do it one more time. Although women comprise 51% of the population:
1) we have never had a woman president of the United States
2) women make 75% of what men make for the same work
3) the U.S. ranks #70 in the world for female representation in government
4. women hold 2.7% of the CEO positions in the Fortune 1000 companies
5. we also hold about 24% of state legislative seats and hold 6 out of 50 governorships
6. women hold 20% of senior management and board positions, down from 24% in 2009, and there are more companies with NO females in management than ever before
What these numbers mean is that we are telling our daughters that they can be and do anything, and although theoretically true, in practice it just isn't happening. No father these days wants to limit the horizons and expectations for his daughters. So what we need to understand is that many men feel the same cultural imperative and drive to advance the cause of women's economic equality and power parity as we do. It is the same gut reaction that drives all of us.
On top of all of that, how powerful a statement is it for these men to show the other men in a way we women can't, how important our cause is for men to stand by us.
So I say to you wonderful men who are at our side cheering us on as we finish the work of women's equality, thanks from all of us and a big huge pat on the back. We are all in this together, and if we haven't shown you the proper respect lately, please forgive us. Your support is more important than you know, and with all of us together, we WILL finish the job and change everyone's future for the better---once and for all!!!!