Is Equality an Inherent Right?

August 26, 2009

As I read the reports honoring Sen. Edward Kennedy this morning, listing his long and historic accomplishments on behalf of humanity, a small shiver of apprehension crept up my spine. One of his most admired traits, aside from his down-to-earth approach to life, was his ability to collaborate in one of the most important houses in the world, the U.S. Senate. Already voices are speculating about the impact his death may have on the health care initiative as well as other key legislation.

Yikes! As we pay tribute to a man who made a difference on behalf of all of us, I hope we don’t quiet our own voices. We need to make sure our representatives understand that we expect collaboration on all issues that concern us, that we expect an honest review of what we need, not “politics as usual.” Naïve you say? Necessary, I respond.

Let’s take a look at an issue near and dear to my heart. It’s been a topic of conversation since talking began and is still not resolved. If you read the title of this post, you know where I’m heading. Equality —something everyone wants but few receive. Today is Women’s Equality Day, and I know we all agree that we have a long way to go in achieving this goal.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Nicolas Kristof’s and Sheryl WuDunn’s New York Times article, “Saving the World’s Women,” I strongly urge you to do so. To give you an idea of the article’s impact, here’s one of the statistics it quotes: “More girls and women are now missing from the planet, precisely because they are female, than men were killed on the battlefield in all the wars of the 20th century.”

The U.S. Army is celebrating Women’s Equality Day. Numerous younger bloggers are letting their generation know that equity is still an issue, and still others are detailing the stats of inequality. There’s even a humorous movement promoting toplessness — no surprise that this seems to be getting the most media attention. Since 1881 AAUW has been promoting equity for women and girls, and we continue to do so.

Is equality an inherent right earned simply by birth for each and every individual? I want to say yes, but the actions of all societies at all levels lead me to believe that if it is our right, it certainly is the most unrespected right of any on earth. So while we honor a great humanitarian, while we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, let’s remember to do our part in making sure equality is not a forgotten concept.

Christy Jones, CAE By:   |   August 26, 2009

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