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.)