America since its establishment as a new independent country has gone through a pattern of transformation resembling a grub in a cocoon. Imagine a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. It has some difficulties at the beginning, but later transformations can be beautiful. America is a country of immigrants and is a microcosm of the whole earth, as people from all continents from largest in area to smallest i.e. Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antartica, Europe, and Australia are living in the land of the free and home of the brave. Human rights belong to all of us. These include the right to life, liberty, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and the right for education without discrimination. E Pluribus Unum, out of many we are one. Many of us (Human beings) do not enjoy these rights in the world, and among them women and children are the most vulnerable ones. I often ask myself what kind of world I want for my daughter; therefore, I would like to see what women have achieved and how to expand it for the next generation. Progress might be in inches and yards and not miles, but progress is progress. Their success is our success and humanity’s success. Let’s believe and practice it, as out of many individuals around the world and despite different cultures, we are one and all share the same ideals.
Women are the first teachers of all humanity, therefore raising their status will eventually raise the status of all humanity. If we look at the history of the women’s movement, there is a great transformation since the establishment of the United States, and women are at the center piece of all these great achievements. Let’s remind ourselves of these achievements.
It starts from saving the Lewis and Clark expedition by Sacagawea to abolishing the concept of slavery through education (Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe). From freedom fighters and liberators of slavery such as Harriet Tubman or women’s rights pioneers such as Susan B Anthony, we are proud of our women. From civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks to Betty Friedman, a pioneer in getting the equal rights amendment including Title IX, we are indebted to our women. From the long battle of achieving reproductive rights through Roe vs Wade to the women liberation movement’s expansion by Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem, women are at the center of this great country’s history. It is not about a battle of the sexes such as Billie Jean vs Bobby Riggs, but rather our focus should be on improving the quality of life of women and having a nurturing environment to achieve each woman’s God given potential. I do not know of any man whose achievement in this world can be said to be greater than what some of our women like Marie Currie or Helen Keller have achieved. They did not use men as their yardstick; rather, they reached for the stars and achieved their God given potential. Each individual should compete with the self they knew from yesterday with the goal of making it better for tomorrow. Competition is with yourself and not anyone else.
Christa McAuliffe, a brave woman who tragically lost her life during the space shuttle challenger’s takeoff, inspired many women including a young Iranian woman such as Anousheh Ansari the co-founder of Telecom networkto travel to space and pave the path for many other women to continue to dream. It is about individual voices coming together for a moment and that moment lasts the length of the breath and will take your breath away with long lasting effects. There are many women pioneers that will be role models for other girls and women around the world, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Emma Thompson, Malala Yousifazi, Margaret Cavendish, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Shirin Ebadi, Elizabeth Garret Anderson, Audrey Hepburn, Serena Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, JK Rowling, and many others. President Teddy Roosevelt said to his daughter, “Put your feet on the ground, but look at the stars.” The sky is limitless like your potential. Believe it and pursue it.
Women will continue to be pioneers and trailblazers. We all believe that the lives of women and girls do matter around the world. Each of us should be their voice if they have none and no one should stay silent when seeing injustice. Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” It is like climate change. Pollution in any one country will affect us all. Defending clean air affect us all no matter where we live. The same is true about the women’s condition and their status around the world. Women’s rights are human right and we are out of many, we are one: “E Pluribus Unum.”
Each time we see “E pluribus Unum,” whether on a dollar bill or at the feet of the statue of lady freedom on top of Capital Hill, let us remember what we can do to help the progression of women’s rights around the globe.