In 1986, in our early 20’s, we went to the first of our friend’s weddings. It was held at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh, a private club founded in 1873. Not shocking, women weren’t allowed to join until 1980. It was a big event. The only thing I remember is the bathrooms. The women had one small room with two maybe three stalls. My friend pulled me into the men’s room later in the evening to see. It was easily 2000 square feet with magnificent black and white marble tiles on the floor and yet plenty of toilets. I wonder how long it took the new “female” members to press for bathroom equality.
I had early access to the film The Business of Birth Control. Birth control was game-changing for women. It gave us control of our sex lives without the constant fear of getting pregnant. The history of birth control is fascinating. Back in the day, two men, a gynecologist, and biologist were funded by Katherine McCormick, who worked with Margaret Sanger, who opened the first birth control clinic in the states.
It is not shocking how cavalier much of the information is when we begin to dig deeper into birth control. This film highlights the lack of research on oral contraceptives and how they work. It has been about making money for pharmaceutical companies willing to not give all the facts to the patients but clearly able to get FDA approval. The question now is, does it make sense to turn off our monthly ovulation cycles before figuring out the importance to our bodies?
I spoke with a newly elected City Council member this past week. Shahana Hanif is a 30-year-old Bangladeshi American from Brooklyn. There are now 34 out of 51 women sitting on the City Council. Not easy getting elected when white men in the past have held the majority of these positions. How do you expect to get donations from communities that don’t necessarily have the capital needed to support these candidates? It is rigged against anyone in an underserved community to figure it out and move forward. It was set up like this, making it more difficult for women from underserved communities to enter the political arena.
There are countless stories from women entrepreneurs with undercapitalized companies and public companies that still stack the board with primarily men. I have been diving into historical data, and I can not help but wonder if all of the decisions that men in power have made have always been about making sure women are not invincible, omnipotent, strong, influential, dominant, stalwart, dynamical, vigorous, and herculean?
The good news is we are starting to accelerate equality and change. Indeed, it is about time.