"TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO WOMAN
HAS GONE BEFORE"
There's been a death in the family but few women will notice or be reminded by the media. Ann Buford Mitchell died Friday, July 31, 1998, at the age of 73.
If she had been as important to men as she was to women, the papers and TV would be extolling her life and telling of the debt we owe to her courage and sacrifice.
But she was not. She was only important to women and most of us have never heard of her. All of us should.
For Ann was a champion and a fighter for women's reproductive rights even before the Supreme Court's ruling of 1973 which made abortion legal.
She became the leader of Cincinnati's Planned Parenthood in 1967 and in 1974 (directly following the Supreme's landmark decision), Cincinnati opened it's first women's clinic.
In December 1985, Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger Center was destroyed by a fire bomb. Mitchell led the effort to build a new clinic.
Ann Buford Mitchell retired in 1989. Another post-hero of the "largest civil rights movement in the history of the world." One way to honor her memory might be to call your local Planned Parenthood and tell them, "THANK YOU."
How many more women of courage have we forgotten? How many more live on the pages of women's webs but not in our country's heart and pride?
While countless generations to come will know the names of the heroes of the American Revolution, the male heroes, our brave foremothers will pass into oblivion in a generation or two.
As will all memory of the sacrifices they made to give us, their descendants, freedom and the right to equal representation -- the vote.
How many women's faces appear on our money? Ah, yes. The "Anthony," which some women are working to recirculate but which failed in the marketplace because it "appeared to be" a quarter.
Upcoming, we are told, is another dollar coin. This time with a Native American woman on the face. A woman with her babe in arms, who guided Lewis and Clark. The very epitome of womanhood -- propagate and serve.
We are SUCH a useful gender for man to exploit -- seldom deemed important but always useful.
72 years of dedication and self sacrifice from women of prior generations
to win us, the women of today and tomorrow, the right to vote.
78 years (so far) of ever coming closer to losing it and our reproductive rights
simply because so many of us can't be bothered to vote.
78 years of gradually frittering away our human rights
because we are too busy to get involved in our own and our daughter's freedom.
Arizona is now sending out birthday cards to its 18 year olds -- urging them to vote. What if each one of us penned a reminder to vote on every "greeting card" we send to both old and young?
We are still a movement that is struggling to be recognized as a part of history's human story. Next time you are surfing the Web, punch in the Gapper's URL and pause for a moment on the Gapper's logo when it comes up. You'll find a brief, repeated message.
A message that we all need reminding of often. A message that is so significant and meaningful especially when the month of August comes around.
You can thank the liz library for this reminder of the debt we owe to those "who boldly went"... and also, for our many links to other Web information for women.
Copyright 1998 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: twanda@ConnRiver.net.
G e n d e r G a p p e r s T M
And thank you, Twanda and GenderGappers, for allowing us the privilege of hosting your site. --liz
(If you visit the "Votes for Women" site linked above, which does contain much information, do also see the much-imitated, un-"sanitized," and no-sugar-added ORIGINAL Woman Suffrage Timeline, by Brooks and Gonzalez, which includes, e.g., the various dates women LOST the right to vote in the United States.)