A response to Carl Mumpower’s attempt to silence American women’s advocacy-through-marching is almost too easy to write [“Women’s Marches Lack Mature Focus,” Feb. 1, Xpress]. However, I write this letter not to him but to all women who have felt silenced by such voices, whether external or internal (i.e., “I have it good, don’t I? So I shouldn’t be saying anything, right.”). Such doubts about the validity of women’s voices are unfortunately infused with the all-too-American belief that we have the “most” and “best” of everything.
First, not all American women have the same experience of privilege, so marching together can be an act of solidarity and support. Second, when comparing American women to the world at large, the U.S. falls short in multiple measures of gender equality and health. The United States ranked 65th in wage equality for similar work, according to a 2014 World Economic Forum study of 142 countries.
When it comes to female members of parliament/house and senate, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the U.S. Congress is ranked in 72nd place out of 139 spots, trailing behind Uganda, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Next, the World Policy Analysis Center reported that only 32 constitutions in the world do not include an explicit gender equality guarantee. The U.S. Constitution is one of them. Other measures such as maternal and infant mortality, literacy and guaranteed paid maternity leave show the U.S. trailing behind.
Have we come a long way, baby? Mature women rightly honor their foremothers in the women’s movement by continuing to march, organize, write and act. Make no mistake — everything we do matters. Marching is not pouting: It is an integral part of the mature women’s movement toward justice. (Source of compiled data: http://avl.mx/3dy)
— Sharon Bigger