Women's History Month
It’s time for women – all women – to become the leaders we are born to be.
We must recognize women’s past accomplishments, but we must do it with an eye to future changes.
When women are successful – when they strike out with determination to make changes in our world whether they’re in scientific, sports, political, business, or personal arenas – we are all successful. As we celebrate the amazing history of women’s success, let us determine what tools are needed to continue this march toward progress. It’s time for women — all women — to become the leaders we are born to be.
Texas Governor Ann Richards combined a love of Texas with a love of politics. A public schoolteacher, county commissioner, state treasurer, and governor, Ann Richards charged forward with her feminism, one-liners, and her love of progressive policies. Her meteoric rise and fall in Texas state leadership is still the stuff of legends in politics, and her face emblazoned banners in Austin in a public art installation.
You can read about it here: https://downtownaustin.com/ann-richards-art-project/
Molly Ivins, political commentator and newspaper journalist, never shied away from using her larger-than-life Texas-themed humor to draw attention to the outrages and overreach of our political system when it came to safeguarding Americans. A great documentary, "Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins,” produced by McKinney resident Katy Bettner, can be watched here: https://www.amazon.com/Raise-Hell-Times-Molly-Ivins/dp/B07WZH6QQR
U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan was the first African-American woman elected as a Texas state senator, the first African-American in the 20th century to be elected to the U.S. Congress from the South, and the first woman and the first African-American keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention. Congresswoman Jordan’s focus was on issues that impacted everyone, no matter their political leanings. Her unwavering belief in federal protection for civil rights for all Americans caused her to sponsor Voting Rights Act of 1965 provisions including Hispanic Americans, Native Americans (Indigenous Peoples), and Asian Americans. A gifted orator, Barbara Jordan delivered many speeches, arguably none more famous than her remarks on President Nixon’s impeachment. You can watch that speech here: https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/impeachment/my-faith-constitution-whole-it-complete-it-total.
U.S. Statistics on Women & Their Power in Voting
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women outnumber men by 5 million, and women aged 85+ outnumber men 2-1. The percentage of women holding a bachelor’s degree is more than that of men. And yet … women make a little over 80% of men’s median earnings for full-time, year-round workers 16 years and older. (1) In fact, “Equal Pay Day” (representing how far into the next year that women have to work to equal men’s pay) is March 15, smack dab in the middle of Women’s History Month. The gap is even larger for women of color. In Texas, women make about $11,000 less than men. (2) That’s particularly maddening when you take into account that, according to recent data, one in three businesses around the world is owned by a woman, and in the U.S., 21% of all women-owned businesses are owned by Black women. (3)
When you talk about voting, women register AND vote at higher rates than men. Since 1980, women have voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980 (4). New political research believes that women should be the “default group” for analyzing voter behavior. (5). Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that racial identity in voting is also important. In 2020, 55% of white woman voted for Republican Donald Trump, while non-white women voted in large margins for Democrat Joe Biden. (6)
Why do these numbers matter? Because voting is still the only way that “ordinary people” can effect change in their local, state, and federal elections. "Keyboard warriors” are a dime a dozen, to coin an old phrase, but no matter how hard you wage war online, a social media post can’t vote. If you aren’t registered or you have family members who aren’t registered, you are missing out on your greatest opportunity to change your community. If you need to register to vote: please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or go to our Elections/Vote page here: https://www.mckinneydemocrats.org/how-to-vote
Who’s Your “Woman of the Year”?
We know it’s hard to choose who the most impactful woman has been. Is it Vice-President Kamala Harris, who has lots of “firsts” in her biography? Is it Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development, who led the team that created a viable COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year? Or what about Jacinta Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, who, as the world’s youngest female head of state, gave birth to her first daughter while in her first term all while she used her skill as a leader to ensure only 25 New Zealanders died from the coronavirus? Or maybe it's someone closer to home ... your mother, your sister, your aunt? Who inspires you to be the best version of yourself?
One last thing ... as you look into your future, what do YOU, as one of the wonderful women born to make a difference in our world, envision yourself doing in the next year? (It can be a small difference or a large one: remember the tale of the starfish! https://www.thestarfishchange.org/starfish-tale). We can't WAIT to see what you accomplish!