Two teenage girls found their voices recently. They were concerned that the presidential and vice presidential debates had no women as moderators and chose to do something about it. No woman had moderated a presidential debate since 1996. In response, they started a petition to the Presidential Debate Commission asking for women to serve as moderators. Now, Candy Crowley will moderate a presidential debate and Martha Raddatz will moderate the vice presidential debate.
After 80 years, that bastion of male power, the Augusta National Country Club, home of the prestigious Masters tournament, admitted two women as members. This happened after ten years of negotiating, protesting and appealing for a rational decision to end its sexist regulation. Thanks to Martha Burk, a women's rights activist, the decision to admit women became a reality.
The stellar performance of the United States women athletes at the London Olympics captured the attention of the media and viewers around the world. Their performances repeatedly brought home the gold. These performances would not have happened without the voices of many women on college campuses around the country calling for financial support. As a result, congress passed Title IX, providing the financial assistance enjoyed by male athletes. Women found their voices!
Unfortunately sexism is still alive and well. Congress again failed to pass the "equal pay for equal work" bill. As a result, women will continue to receive 77 cents for every $1 a man receives for doing the same job.
The "Violence Against Women Act" failed in the house because of an amendment that would include protection for Native American women and lesbians.
Women have made great progress in human rights but have far to go. We must find our voices on issues that discriminate. We find sexism in all of our institutions--church, government, financial and educational. All need to be addressed. As Catherine of Siena said so well: "Preach the Truth as if you had a million voices. It is silence that kills the world."
Pictured is Dominican Sister of Peace Barbara Kane, OP.