What is Women's Liberation?
During the past few years, there's been plenty of talk about Women's Liberation. Although many people know and agree with the ideas of Women's Liberation, there still seems to be some distorted impressions of what it's all about. One of which is that all women should hate men. Actually, many women in our organization are married with children. Others enjoy meaningful relationships with men and choose not to live the married lifestyle. Nevertheless, we all struggle with men over their ideas that women's abilities should be limited. Some men feel threatened by women's liberation because it represents opposition to the traditional training they have undergone throughout their lives. Another distorted impression is that women's liberation would mean an end to their relationship with their boyfriend or for the married woman, divorce. The truth is that women's liberation is basically a "woman awareness program"; educating women about themselves. Though this learning process, women begin to set aside their doubts and place higher value on themselves, their thoughts and emotions.
Education means realization which is sometimes a painful experience. For many, this would inevitably mean a process of changes. Any basically good relationship will survive these changes and be strengthened by them - not destroyed. Becoming more aware of yourself is the first step to understanding yourself. Understanding enables you to deal with yourself and others more effectively which means living a happier more fulfilled life.
ON THE JOB
Most men in this country are paid just enough to survive, and most women are paid less; simply because they are women. Forty-two percent of all women are employed and that percentage is steadily increasing. Employees still seem to think " a woman seeking employment needs a little extra money"; or if you're single, " it's just a matter of time before you get married and leave." For those already married, no employee wants to hire a "soon to be pregnant woman . Employees use that type of reasoning to justify the low pay for the majority of people they employ - women. The more proverbial second rate (women) they hire, the more profits they pocket. The women's liberation movement says women should be given equal job opportunities and equal pay for equal work.
IN FAMILY ROLES
A Woman's Place Is In The Home
Idealistic thoughts of what the wife and/or mother role should be help us imagine our marriage being" different from everyone else". A fantasy starring " Pollyanna and Prince Charming ".
Although no woman is forced to take on the responsibilities of family life, no woman needs to be exploited. We have been trained since childhood that every woman must marry and bear a child to fulfill her "purpose" as a woman. Women's liberation means you decide what will fulfill your life as a woman.
Those of us who choose the family lifestyle can still live a full life if the responsibilities are shared by our husbands. Due to the numerous duties of a marriage, such as: maid, cook, waitress, seamstress, carpenter, painter, plumber, economic advisor and for those unemployed - providing twenty four hour child care, are usually considered "women's work". Many women give up outside activity and friends for these nonpaid aspects to marriage. In essence, these women are being denied a full life by becoming involved in what they have always believed would give them a full life - the institution of marriage.
The institution of marriage will remain a prison for many women until their needs as women are met. Only then will they enjoy the relationship of a friend and lover with their husband and a teacher of their children.
Women's liberation means we must realize our needs as women, mentally and emotionally, as well as physically and demand our needs be taken seriously.
WITHIN THE LAWS
In our struggle to help control our reproductive lives, we won the right to abortion. The women's movement is not anti-life; we want to protect life, the quality of our lives and of our children's. Women must be able to make free and informed decisions regarding their bodies. If the right of abortion was denied us, quality medical care would not be available, thus, women would continue to have illegal abortions which were dangerous and at times, resulted in death. A majority of American people feel that a decision for an abortion is a personal one. Women now have the right to make that decision with quality information and medical care available .
Women seeking a divorce come up against more than just huge lawyers fees. They face possible loss of their children, usually no financial security, and their identity changes in the eyes of society. Having been unemployed for various reasons for a certain number of years and now in desperate need of a job, many women face discrimination in this area. Credit is difficult to obtain as well as decent childcare for your children. Alimony is usually insufficient.
People now involved in the women's movement are extending aid to women instructing them in the different avenues of assistance available, information regarding places for childcare, and a legal clinic to help people obtain their own divorce without a lawyer and large fees
Changing women's position in society is going to require a changes in expectation, jobs, childcare, and education. We are struggling for changes in ourselves, other individuals, institutions and policies that set up our lives in sexist patterns.
We believe in democracy. By that we do not mean just voting in elections, but responsible participation of all the people affected by any decision. We also believe men and women should work together for these changes, building a new society in which all people will have the opportunity to develop their full potential.