For much of recorded history women have been second-class citizens in a male-dominant world. In ancient history this was not the case. Women were honored, as was the Mother Goddess. They could own property, run businesses, children were identified through the mother’s line, and they were community and spiritual leaders.
There have been some fundamental shifts in the global economy and business patterns that are creating change. For better or worse we have moved from an agricultural and manufacturing economy to an information economy which depends on smarts, not brawn. In many countries women equal or exceed the education backgrounds of their male counterparts. More and more women are positioned to benefit economically. Women own half our nation’s wealth and control a majority of household spending decisions – to the tune of five trillion dollars. Women make over 80% of consumer purchases in the US. The results: women are setting trends. For example, the increase in the availability of organic products is because of women’s influence based on their concern for the families’ health and wellbeing.
Nothing that we have taken for granted for the last forty years is safe. And, though we’ve seen the erosion of welfare benefits and reproductive rights take place for decades, including under the watch of President Bill Clinton, there is nothing like this current administration to remind women that we need to be ever vigilant. Just as civil rights have eroded for Black Americans, so have they for women. Both trends will continue in a downward spiral if we don’t constantly hold those in power responsible for protecting the civil and human rights we’ve worked so hard to achieve.