March is Women’s History Month, a time to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of women in human history, especially in the United States. It’s unfortunate that we need a special month to point out what should be widely known and appreciated, but we still have a long way to go before we have anything approaching true equality–whether it’s cultural equality or equality of opportunity. Women in the United States won the battle for the right to vote less than one hundred years ago, and women around the world still battle sexism, misogyny and bias daily.
But it’s also the case that women are making historic strides, especially in American politics. A record number of women are now serving in the House of Representatives, the vast majority of them Democrats. And a record number of women are running for President in 2020, six at present count. The Resistance movement that exploded in the wake of Trump’s election was mostly fueled by women–including many Indivisible group organizers–leading to the historic protests against Trump’s Muslim ban and attempted ACA repeal, as well as organizing the Women’s March. The MeToo movement almost certainly sprang from this same cultural moment. These efforts have had a profound impact on our national dialog and have forced political outcomes that would have been otherwise impossible. Without a loud and concerted protest the ACA would surely have been repealed and replaced by something much worse.
Indeed, much of today’s public debate is being driven by women. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, part of a new generation of social-media-savvy women in Congress, has done an incredible job of framing and re-framing certain Progressive issues. She is active daily on Twitter and regularly gets the best of Trump and the Republicans when they try to attack her. She tweeted this yesterday:
Nancy Pelosi has also proven herself a savvy leader in Congress, out-maneuvering Trump on the Border Wall and reasserting her power at the helm of a co-equal branch of government. And Representatives like Kamala Harris and Ocasio-Cortez have done incredible work on committees investigating corruption in the Trump administration.
Women are also leading the charge in the battle against Climate Change and global warming. Sixteen year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, founder of the Youth Strike for Climate group, was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her work motivating young students to protest government inaction. Just last Friday an estimated 150,000 students from more than 100 countries skipped school and protested, including large, well-publicized gatherings in nearby New York City.
Women have also been at the forefront of the push for Gun Control in the wake of the Parkland shootings. Courageous young women like Emma Gonzalez and Jaclyn Corin withstood demented attacks by gun fanatics and NRA lackeys while calling for common sense gun control measures like universal background checks–a policy that an overwhelming majority of Americans support in poll after poll.
And finally women are now at the forefront of political journalism in an industry that has forever been dominated by men. Rachel Maddow has for several months been the most watched cable news hour on television, and many of her peers are gaining viewers and accolades, like Katy Tur, Nicole Wallace, Brooke Baldwin and Erin Burnett.
It’s too early to predict whether the next Democratic presidential nominee will be a woman but it does seem likely that, one way or another, a woman will be on the ticket. In today’s Democratic party an all-male ticket seems so absurd as to be laughable–which is progress. Women are firmly on the ascendancy, both in politics and in our broader culture, and it’s worth celebrating.