The Right to Choose

Suffragette-001We are lied to, we women. We are lied to by our parents, by our educators, by our mentors and by society. We have been told, since the sixties, that we can have it all.  Not without struggle we can’t.   

We are equal to men and therefore, we must understand that we have to make sacrifices in order to be equal. Men make these sacrifices.  If we want what men have?  Then so do we.

This is not a bad thing. It is just one of life’s little unalterable realities. Success, regardless of gender, is relative and all success requires sacrifice and compromise.

There are so many opportunities for women today that were simply not available to us 40 years ago. In the 60’s, it would have been unheard of for women to want to climb the corporate ladder, let alone reach the top rung. Women doctors, dentists, mechanics, dock workers, construction workers – simply non-existent back in the day.

We can strive to be anything we wish but there will be compromises. The must be compromises. Men compromised. In order to climb up that corporate ladder, they gave up time with their families, they traveled and lived in motels and hotels, they gave up their hobbies and any sort of “down” time. Women must be willing to do the same if their goal is to succeed in the business world.

It is the right to choose. We have that right. Choices require compromises and there’s where the problem lies within our gender, we don’t seem to understand that while the grass looked “Oh So Green!” on the male side of the fence, it isn’t. The grass always looks greener on the other side but rarely is what it seems to be.

We want the right to walk around at night safely. Okay. So do men. They may not get raped but they do get mugged. Evil people are out there and we have the right to keep ourselves safe or take stupid chances. It is the right to choose.

We have the right to dress how we wish. However, we don’t have the right to expect that when our clothing exposes everything our genetics have given us, no comments or unwanted attention be forthcoming. We don’t wear these clothes for comfort; we wear them to attract attention. To claim otherwise is to lie.

We have the right to aim high but we don’t have the right to aim high and not expect that there will be consequences. Like men, to aim high means to work 24/7. It means giving up party night, it means giving up family and friend time; success has a very high price tag to go along with the salary and stock options.

We have the right to determine what success means to us, personally. Is the corner office and work as life, success? Go for it, it is yours for the taking, if you have the drive to achieve it. Is a happy family life your interpretation of success? Absolutely yours. Achieve it because you are no less of value than the person in the corner office.

We have the right and the responsibility to live our lives as human beings of intelligence and thoughtful choices. We have the duty to demand that the generations of young women who have followed us, in the struggle for equality, respect for the society that has been handed to them. A society of intelligent choice. A society where they can walk the path of equality.

Of all the old prejudices that cling to the hem of the woman’s garments and persistently impede her progress, none holds faster than this. The idea that she owes service to a man instead of to herself, and that it is her highest duty to aid his development rather than her own, will be the last to die.

Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906)

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