Progress has been made, but in many parts of the world, women and girls are still oppressed, often violently, with no voice, no access to education, no reproductive choice.
When humans were few in number and lived nomadically as stone-age hunter gatherers, women were culturally revered and coexisted equally with men. That all changed about 12,000 years ago, when humans began to embrace agriculture and live in permanent settlements. At that point, males began to assert themselves, as blood-thirsty raiders and plunderers. In response, a warrior class of males was spawned, who specialized in’ defending’ their women, children, and food supplies. That was the beginning of the male dominance that has prevailed ever since. Riane Eisler, in her ground-breaking book, The Chalice and the Blade, tells the story. Human history since the emergence of agriculture – Politics, governance, commerce, education, and religion – has been shaped fundamentally on the male dominance paradigm.
For thousands of years, women have been suborned by men; treated as chattel, denied access to education, limited in role to child-bearing and rearing, forced to endure all kinds of abuse and violence.
In the U.S., women began to raise their voices in the latter half of the 19th century. Women like Elisabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B.Wells, Sojourner Truth, Margret Sanger, Victoria Woodhull, and Susan B. Anthony, to name a few, were pioneers, whose activism led to the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, that gave women the right to vote. Much progress has been made in the U.S. and other developed nations since then. Women have emerged as leaders in politics, education, and other areas of life. We even have a female Presidential candidate, who may well be elected in 2016. But equal rights have not been fully achieved. There is still a substantial salary gap between men and women. More needs to be done with regard to access to education, career opportunity, and reproductive rights.
In other parts of the world, the plight of women remains precarious at best. In the poorest, least developed nations, women are often forced to live behind a vale, denied any voice, or access to even basic education or reproductive choice. In many African nations, girl children continue be subjected to Female Genital Cutting, a cultural practice in which, girls as young as five year of age, have their vaginas cut and mutilated. More than a hundred million women around the world have been subjected to this painful, sometimes life threatening, and medically unjustified procedure. Regions that are politically unstable are particularly dangerous for women. In the Congo, an African nation larger than all of Europe combined, violent militias are responsible for an ongoing genocidal terror, that targets women particularly, with estimates as high as a thousand girls and women a day being subjected to rape.
Citizen Sluts want a world in which men and women coexist and prosper as equals in every way. Uncompromised gender equality is an absolute requirement to achieve a world that is life affirming and sustainable over the long term. We acknowledge and appreciate the progress that has been made, but much remains to be done.
In the U.S. the focus now is on…
In other parts of the world, far more needs to be done. Cultural resistance to fair treatment of girls and women remains strong. These barriers are eroding, but not fast enough.
Citizen Sluts applaud and support the United Nations Programme for the Advancement of Women, V-Day, and many other organizations working for women in the U.S. and other parts of the world. They give us hope that we are closing in on the day when women and girls will be afforded equal respect, equal opportunity, and freedom from violence and any kind of oppression