1st Woman President Won’t Be Inaugurated Today
When I was a girl growing up in Iowa in the 1950s, my parents and teachers told me, along with the boys, that when I grew up I could be whatever I wanted to be, even President of the United States.
In my world, adults told the truth, or what they thought to be the truth, and I believed them.
I didn’t want to be President, but I thought I could.
I didn’t want to be President, but I did think I could be if I wanted to, because girls were equal with boys.
The older I got, however, the more I realized it was a lie.
The first time I began to question the truth of it I was in high school, with a secret desire to be a doctor. But my counselor told me,
You don’t want to be a doctor, you want to go to Iowa State and be a home economist.
It was an easy path to take. I had to pay all my college expenses by working as a waitress. An alternative was to be a veterinarian, but there were no women studying it at that time.
I was more qualified. My husband made more money.
Fast forward to the years in Iowa City, I was now a wife and mother, working to make it possible for my husband to go to college.
I applied for a job in a research lab at State University of Iowa (SUI), having done well in my chemistry classes at Iowa State. I had a B.S., and I got the job, which was full-time.
My husband also worked in a research lab for SUI, part-time, with no chemistry and no degree. He made more money hourly than I did. Hmmm.
There’s something wrong with this picture, but I still believed the lie enough to tell it to my two daughters. They could be anything they wanted to be, even if I had not quite been able to make it happen.
Women should not be guaranteed equal rights?
I was busy. I thought to myself it would pass soon, after all, I was equal wasn’t I?
My children grew up, and some things were more equal in California than the Midwest. I had friends from many countries and ethnicities, and so did my children. There was a lot of good in our world related to the exchange of ideas, friendship, food and customs. The role of women was quite diverse and expanded as I grew older.
The ERA still had not passed, however, and it rankled me more and more as I could see that women were not equal.
Then women entered politics, some of them wonderful role models. They have continued to push for equality. And a black man was elected president.
At last, in my retirement years, I thought a woman could be President.
Of course she had to be very experienced, very bright, a unique woman indeed.
Much of the country hated our black president, and I could see that they would hate a woman even more.
And the ERA is not even mentioned these days.
Women are not equal.
Women are not equal, even though many raise families alone and struggle to keep food on the table.
When women retire, they are punished for being women again in every Social Security check they receive. When they were working, they got paid less, and when they retire, their Social Security is also less for equivalent jobs.
I am sorry that I lied to my daughters. I should have told them that they would never be equal in this country, and that men will not even recognize or acknowledge it. Only boys can grow up to be President in my lifetime, possibly theirs as well.
Please share this with your friends and relatives so this sorry lie will be eradicated.
We deserve the truth as well as equality.