Women's Equality Day - Let's give thanks and act!
From my earliest memories, I have been fortunate to witness women who didn’t back down in the face of gender discrimination and who gave their all for the good of their community and country.
As a teenager in Temple, NH, I watched as the 90 year-old Doris “Granny D” Haddock completed her epic cross-country walk for democracy. When she came back home to New Hampshire and spoke at my school, she lit a fire in me and made her cause of equal citizenship my own. We continued to speak and stump together until she died at the age of 100 in 2010.
As an AmeriCorps volunteer at City Year Washington, DC, I watched as my female corps members took charge of difficult situations in some of DC’s poorest schools to ensure the kids we taught had the support they needed to succeed. No job was too hard or neighborhood too tough for them.
When I met my wife-to-be Sindiso in graduate school, I found not just a brilliant human rights lawyer and future professor, but a woman of uncanny grit and grace. Although she had made it from the Soweto township in apartheid South Africa all the way to Oxford, she willingly left the dreamy spires behind for months at a time to conduct field work on gender justice in some of her country’s poorest enclaves. She continues to make the difficult journey from New Hampshire and lend her voice and intellect to the cause of gender equality in South Africa's indigenous communities.
Now, that we are blessed to raise a little girl and boy, our commitment to gender equality is more real than ever. Simply put, we want our daughter to have every bit as much opportunity to realize her God-given potential – and earn an equal living in the process – as our son. As a proud member of the NH Women’s Foundation board, I can tell you there is plenty of work left for our generation to do.
Women’s Equality Day is about more than just honoring the women in our life. It is about fighting for gender justice on every front. These days, my front is politics. That’s why I’m proud to cheer on the many Democratic women running for office up and down the ballot in District 5, and why I’m asking you to learn more about your candidates here and join our shared fight for equal pay, parental leave, women's healthcare, and more in Concord. It is unacceptable that in the year 2016, nearly three-quarters of our elected state leaders are men.
Let’s change that as men and women – as Americans – together.