The Terrible Consequences of Sleep Deprivation – Part 2

A Historic Week for Women's Equality and Our Generation Did It

Are you as thrilled as I am? For the first time in the history of the United States a woman is representing one of the two major political parties in the election for president. Wow. Are you grinning as much as I am?

It is you and I who made this possible – the women (and a few men who were enlightened early on) of our generation, the second wave of the feminist movement, who began the journey that finally got us to this week.

And it's about damned time. The U.S. is coming quite late to this kind of equality. Many modern democracies have elected women to their highest office going back to the first, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who became prime minister of Ceylon and Sri Lanka in 1960.

Some others who have served as their country's leader since then are Indira Gandhi of India, Golda Meir of Israel, Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom, Vigdis Finnbogadottir of Iceland and more, clear up to the current chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.

And those are only the most well known. There are at least a couple of dozen more plus those who were appointed, rather than elected to the post.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has five months of hard work before election night but her nomination by the Democratic Party for the office of president of the United States is still a milestone.

That makes it worth taking a look at what had to be overcome.

When we were young, just starting out, the only jobs available to women were secretary, waitress and if we were allowed to go to college, nurse or teacher. The few “girls” - we were called that then, whatever our age – who did attend college were commonly dismissed as pursuing their MRS degree.

Generally, it was understood without any discussion that if you were a girl, you were to get married, have some children and no one said what came next. That was it for life: wife, mother, housekeeper.

Then something happened that would turn our world, our culture upside down.

In 1963, a lefty journalist and union activist named Betty Friedan published a book, The Feminine Mystique, in which she identified and described what she called “the problem that has no name” - that women of the 1950s and 1960s were increasingly unhappy with being confined to home.

The Feminine Mystique was not an instant hit. But over the next few years, it made its way from woman to woman to woman, often one at a time, until it had struck a nerve with millions.

Remember consciousness-raising groups? I was married and living in Houston in 1965 when I began attending a weekly meeting with half a dozen women to talk about what we were reading.

Two or three of my group lied to their husbands about where they were going (and were always nervous that their husbands would find out) because if the men had known what they were doing, they would have forbidden their wives to attend.

Imagine if a husband tried to forbid anything today?! We're not all the way yet but “We have come a long way, baby.”

Here are a few of the other ways women's lives were restricted until the 1970s when it began to change for us:

A woman could be fired or not hired if she were pregnant

There was no recourse for sexual harassment in the workplace or on campus

Women could not run in the Boston Marathon

Women could not refuse sex with their husbands

Women could not have credit cards in their name

Abortion was illegal in any circumstance until Roe v. Wade in 1973

There was no requirement that women be paid the same as men for the same job (we still aren't in practice but at least there is legal recourse)

Those are just a few of the many ways we were lesser citizens than men. But you were there. You remember.

I tried to do my part. I was producing radio and then television shows where I often booked leading feminists of the day – Friedan herself, Gloria Steinem, Helen Gurley Brown, Germaine Greer, etc . etc.

I marched, I attended rallies and meetings and organized and signed petitions and voted for women when they were on the ballot and we talked, we women. Oh god, how we talked.

What we were doing with all that conversation was empowering ourselves, supporting one another as we and millions of others took the steps necessary to grow out of the cultural straight jackets we had been born into. And slowly, slowly, slowly, a little at a time, lives changed.

So here we are this week, 96 long years after having been granted suffrage, with a woman presidential candidate at last. I lived to see it. I actually lived to see it.

I didn't realize until writing that sentence how much it means to me, how much it means to me to have been a part, however small, of making it happen. Even if you don't like Hillary Clinton, even if do not support her, certainly you must realize that this event is a historical milestone for women, for equality, for our country.

If Hillary Clinton is elected president in November, I wonder if Congressional Republicans will obstruct her administration as much as they have President Barack Obama's. If she is not elected president in November, god help us. And god help the world - due to the nature of the opposing candidate, it is bigger - even this first time - than just electing a woman.

Meanwhile, let us rejoice.

Here is Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Tuesday evening. If you missed it, it is worth every one of the 18 minutes to mark this significant event in American and women's history. (It happens to be a great speech too.)


Hillary glowed giving that speech and with good reason. It is a historical moment in time for all women and in her case it's well earned. The people who say she isn't qualified are sexist and/or lying. The people who think other women will vote for her just because she's got ovaries are wrong and insult our intelligence as well has Hillary's. Yes, I'd like to see history made in November but more than that I want Trump stopped and she's politically savvy enough to do it.

It has been a long road to this historic moment, compared to some other countries, but ours is still a relatively young one, and even though we are quickly approaching this historic event, it's what follows that's more important.

In the 1960's and '70's, I too marched, attended meetings and rallies, read feminist literature, listened to feminist music, put feminist bumper stickers on my car, and I had hoped we would be a lot further down this road by now. The generations that followed seem to have much less interested in this quest, and the wealthy and politically connected often seem to have been more interested in their careers than in true change for all.

I hope Hillary truly intends to use the bully pulpit to do a lot more to move everyone down the road to more equitable, prosperous and healthful lives. Congress won't make it easy for her.

I am happy that Hillary has secured the nomination. I do think she is flawed, but she sure has been vetted! She was literally the only candidate in either major party's race that was qualified and tested over time. Isn't that always the case with women in politics or business? Women have to be better than the men around them in order to get anywhere.

I do not know if she can win in November. I do not know if she can hold her own in a public debate with Trump, who is a bully and disrespectful to opponents and to the process. Hillary plays by the rules but Trump does not. I hope fervently she can defeat Trump. The media is finally digging into Trump's record. There is an article in USA Today about his company refusing to pay contractors for his hotels. If there are enough scandals, perhaps people will see there really is no choice. This is important because there are many, many people who despise Hillary.

But yes, this is a big step for humankind, especially female humankind. I also feel that it is about time!

Great column! We worked very hard & should celebrate.
I remember having to have my husband's permission in writing to get a tubal ligation.

Historic day, indeed.
Now? Even those of us in the "blue states" can help Hillary Clinton achieve the White House. Even if it's only a donation of $5 to her campaign (they add up you know). and/or time spent working on that goal.
Not only, thankfully, is this a stellar candidate, I shudder to think of the alternative.

Oh, yes. Come a long way? I still remember the 1952 summer day when, as a new high school graduate, I clocked in at my first 'official' job, file clerk at a large manufacturing company. $44 per week.

I too am thrilled that a woman has finally been nominated, and I will be even more thrilled if she wins. Ever since the late 60s and 70s, when I was a college student and then young adult, I've said I wanted to live to see a woman president and now I hope I will.

As a child in the 1950s, I saw the inequality between men and women, and I knew I didn't want to grow up to be my mother. But it wasn't until I went to college and discovered feminism that I found others who felt as I did. I remember reading "The Feminine Mystique" and realizing that Friedan was describing the lives of my mother and other adult women I knew as a kid. what a revelation that was!

It will be interesting to see how this campaign unfolds. I fear that there will be purely sexist attacks on Hillary, and I sincerely hope they backfire bigtime.

I was also an active feminist in the 70s and am thrilled that we finally have a woman nominee and hopefully president. But I'm also aware that times have changed dramatically. While HCs experience can work for all of us there's also a bit of the stink of 'government as usual' that she's going to have to overcome. I'm grateful to Bernie Sanders for challenging her and by doing so, reminding her and all of us that we need to bring value back to how our government functions, that it's meant to be by, for, and of the people, not lobbyists and Washington insiders.

I am doing happy dance.

In some ways I was more fortunate than many other young women when I graduated from high school in Seattle. My parents expected me to go to the University of Washington, and I did.

I graduated in 1963--the same year The Feminine Mystique was published. I didn't get my MRS degree in college, but I did get a BA and an MS degree which were instrumental in my getting some exciting jobs over the next 40 years.

I'm beyond delighted by Hillary's nomination. Though isn't it interesting that we call her "Hillary" and her awful opponent "Trump." (Unless we're calling him "The Donald," as I often do.) I'm also glad her mother taught her how to deal with bullies. She'll need to.

You're so right, Ronni, about how far our generation has come. In 1960, the year I graduated from college, I applied for a job as a reporter at the Wilmington Del. daily paper, the name of which I now forget, and the first question was, "Can you type?" Actually, that's the only question I remember.

I hate phone banks and knocking on doors in an election campaign, but this year I'm going to do whatever it takes.

I'm voting for Hillary the person, not Hillary the woman...Lord knows I would never vote for Sarah Palin or Carly Fiorina, just because they are women!! But Hillary is a woman, and it is historic. Like former Senator Gabby Giffords, I, too, am thrilled by those two words, "Madam President". I'm planning to go to DC for her inauguration and stand on the National Mall and wave a flag. As I did when Obama was first elected -- I brought my then 10 year old daughter to see history being made. This year my daughter will get to vote for Hillary!

Here in New York, the radio is abuzz with claptrap about whether the Donald can win New York in November. Not if I can help it!

Hooray! I sent her money and I will vote for her. So she has flaws, so did everyone who preceded her. She has many skills, not so all who preceded her. I am pleased for the most part with the two Democrat women Senators from Washington State, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. And I am hopeful that we can put to use the great store of underutilized experience and public service skills that exist in the women of this country. Happy, happy, happy!

I realize, reading these posts, that during the primary season, I was avidly for Hillary, not because she's a woman, but because to my mind, she is so eminently qualified. I figured she, more than anyone else, could handle a recalcitrant congress, despite their underlying misogyny. In fact, I find myself wondering which is stronger in this country, racism or misogyny.

At any rate, I too am thrilled to contemplate a woman in the White House! And such a powerhouse!

When people ask what is "the" book which has most impacted your life--"The Feminine Mystique" would be mine. I was so empowered to know that my life didn't have to be like my mother's and all the other women I knew.

I got through college on my own as my father felt it was a waste of money for a woman. I am so grateful for all the rights we have gained, and although many would like to get us back behind our husbands and fathers, I hope it never is allowed to happen.

Over the past many years, I have felt an erosion of all we have fought for and hope that a woman as president will give us a nudge toward going forward as equals again.

I am happy to say I think she is qualified and am thankful she had Bernie to allow her to see she has the opportunity to let loose the real true democratic woman she always wanted to be. Her time has come.

During the primary I was more in tune with Bernie's ideology and "clean" record (no Wall Street or big biz donors). I admire the fact that he served 30 years in the Senate advocating for ordinary Americans without a hint of scandal. However, I was concerned about whether he could translate ideology into action, starting with getting elected.

I'm thrilled that the Democrat Party's Presidential nominee is a woman. It's high time. I was, and am, a feminist and have NO desire to go back to the "good old days"--which weren't all that great unless you were white and male. (In the early '60s, I needed my then-husband's signature to open a checking account although I was earning 75% of the household income at the time.)

Hillary is not without some significant flaws, as others have observed. I wish she weren't quite as cozy with the 1% as she appears to be and, like most politicians, she tells people what they want to hear. Still, her overall qualifications to hold the office of President are unique and outstanding. I believe that she will be more than able to hold her own against the 6th grade locker room bully who is running against her--I hope so anyway for the future of the country.

Yes Yes Yes!

10/10 to everything above!!

My feet are dancing.

I worked in a multitude of offices before returning to university as a mature student and pursuing my dream of teaching.

The film "9 to Five" was accurate. I remember seeing it with a friend, and we both gave it a STANDING OVATION!!

Typing someone else's words, serving coffee, wearing high heels, running like a gazelle. That's what we did...

Once in a while, I fantasized about adding some ex-lax to the coffee when serving a certain baboon boss. (Some of my bosses were great, gotta say.)

The early feminists you mention above, became my heroes, as I signed up for classes in women's literature. Oh what a treat that was, and oh was I thrilled to NOT have to stop studying and serve coffee to bosses who often stuck their big clod hopping feet on their desks waiting to be served.

What a load of horse manure.

I was thrilled to graduate, get my first teaching position, and get paid THE SAME SALARY as a male teacher, which also happened to be three times the peanuts II was being paid as a secretary.

No more two weeks vacation a year, no job security, all the points everyone made above.

I grew up with four brothers, and was expected to pull my weight, no excuses, no whining. No regrets.

I once tried an experiment. Went to a personnel hiring office and asked to fill in an application for a non-secretarial position.

The smarmy, overly made up receptionist looked me up and down. "Oh, those jobs are for men. They have families to support. Can you type?"

I lied...

"No. Can you juggle chain saws?"

You bet these incidents became fodder for my university papers. They wrote themselves.

Way to bag that nomination, Hillary.

These are wonderful posts. I think I was always a feminist, long before it was in any way acceptable (think of how many years women, especially those in the public light, would "reassure" their audiences by saying "I am not a feminist, but---" And think of what an advance it is that Hillary Clinton can say she is a feminist with nary a stutter or a delay. )

Thank you, Ronni, for giving us her speech to glory in. I had heard bits and pieces, but not the whole thing. It is quite an experience. I found myself cheering over and over, and wishing I was there!

In the early 70s, about the time I went on the academic job market, I was exposed to the worst sort of misogyny virtually everywhere that I was interviewed. The one I remember most vividly was at a university in the state where I was living at that point - I took a long bus ride to get there, but I was all prepared. Went in. The chair was sitting at his desk, but he was on the phone, motioned for me to take a seat. I did so. For the next -- hour -- I was subjected to a phone conversation that he was carrying on with his wife, who was having trouble with their washing machine. I sat, waited, was first amused, then increasingly feeling murderous.

Finally, he hung up. Glanced up in some surprise, perhaps because I was still there. And then said "Why do you want a job? You have a husband."

I don't remember what I answered. I am sure it was not clever or smart or anything. I don't think he asked me anything else, thanked me for my interest, and showed me the door. Wow.

At that point, I decided that academic males were to be avoided at all costs. Well, I had married one -- and I knew I was generalizing. Needless to say, I was done in.

Life got better. I did get a job (thanks to a woman, who took me on even though it involved commuting from 3 states away --). Then a better job. And I gained some strength through all that.

But damn, I do welcome Hillary. I have admired her for a very long time, mostly for her legal work on the part of women and children - also for her stalwartness in negotiating her way through all of Bill's messinesses - also because I could see her gaining experience and learning all the time, working with women all over the world.

She is tough, she is feisty. Maybe that will get her through the huge ordeal ahead of her. I hope so. Just as I always supported Obama, I will continue to support her, even though I have great differences of opinion with some of her--and his--stances. But I am so happy!

I'm no Hillary fan, but I can thrill to her accomplishment. I am confident that she can win in November (and will vote for her), but the interim will be very ugly. The Donald will spew venom, but what will really hurt is when men (and some women) especially in media just parrot assumptions about what a proper Presidential candidate is -- and those assumptions unconsciously assume that a candidate is a man.

Our ideas about how leadership is projected will need to change. I are heartened that her speech was rooted in how women are more likely to view the world -- in family ties and generational continuity. We've got a lot to learn.

And then I expect to spend her tenure in office having to protest whatever wars she is all too willingly to lead us into ... So it goes.

I am pleased a 'woman' punched the glass ceiling...

Love Hillary. Supported her in '08 and '16. Hooray. John Oliver on debt is terrifying. Great he exposed it, however, we need a Democrat congress to put teeth in regulations again! Don't blame VA. Both of our Senators and governor are Democrats.

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