International Belated Women’s Day 3/9/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

And once again, I’m late.  Yesterday was International Women’s Day,

Women have always had to struggle for their rights, which strikes me as odd since most of us had a mother.  Even two hundred years ago, the Founding Fathers wrote “All men are endowed with certain inalienable rights”.  I’m not certain if things like this were intentionally excluding women, or if the term “man” was meant to be more universal, but the rights and contributions of women have long been marginalized. 

It was in the second war to end all wars that industry came up shorthanded.  With so many men off fighting in the two-front war (that in the European theater and another in the Pacific), and with a skyrocketing demand for weapons and good, the men running the factories enticed women into the traditionally male-dominated workforce with the character “Rosie the Riveter”.  Women stepped out of the homes and into the factories only to find that, yes, they can do everything a man can do.  When men returned from war, the question arose as to why women should have to give up the jobs that they had become so good at. 

Women had to fight for the right to vote, and today still have to fight for the right of equal pay.  America is embarrassingly behind in equal pay, maternity leave and the rights of women.  With the overturn of Roe v Wade, the rights of women over her own body is again in peril.  Men would never stand for legislation requiring vasectomies or responsibilities when they impregnate women, and yet the still grossly overly male government feel the need to dictate to women what is best for them. 

As director of the Forensic Science lab, whenever a tour went through the evidence locker room, I always pointed out the three specialty lockers that were refrigerated. These lockers usually housed evidence from our rape kits to preserve genetic evidence, and although there are exceptions, they were usually housing evidence from women who had been violated.  In this day and age, and in what is supposed to be the greatest and most advanced nation in the world, I find it disgusting that we still need lockers for acts of violence against women. 

While there, I also volunteered at a battered women’s shelter.  Frankly, I am the wrong gender to work at such a place, but they put me down in the basement to look after the children while women visited upstairs.  The secure building was locked with video cameras at the entrances so the women inside wouldn’t have to fear their abusers following them into the shelter.  Most commonly, the abusers were the men that were in their lives, boyfriends and husbands, collectively representing the men that the women should have been able to count on to protect them, not abuse them. 

I’m really not sure where this misogynistic nature of men arises.  Do men actually believe that they are somehow better than women?  There’s no reason to believe that.  I’ve long recognized that women are tougher, stronger and more intelligent on average than men.  Certainly there are exceptions, but generally speaking men don’t want to be involved with women who are actually better.  For this reason, I know many women who hide their intelligence and power.  Maybe it’s a competitive streak that we see in sports that makes men feel as if they must be better than anybody else, but any relationship based on this foundation is inherently weaker than those where the two are partners. 

Maybe it’s not my place to say anything.  I’ve rarely been involved in any relationship at all, and those times that I was were brief at best.  All I have is observation, but historically, women have often banded together to protest when things got too bad.  When I try to find reference to the first women’s protest, Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 comes up, but I know there were protests dating back to the ancient Greek civilization.  As I can’t find a reference to these protests, I can’t really speak with authority about what happened, but my understanding was that they withheld sex until they got their way, and, yes, men naturally caved. 

March is Women’s History Month, and all month long we should be celebrating the contributions of women.  In America, we celebrate National Women’s Day on August 9.  Why it’s different from international Women’s Day I do not know, but it’s fair.  Women deserve more than one day.  Heck, it’s Men’s day every other damned day of the year. 


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