Rights, Research, and the American Way

The other day I was talking to a client about the plot we were working on: the timeline spans multiple decades. My client reminded me of the way things ‘used to be’ during that time. Funny, I thought, I remember that…I’ve just gotten used to the way things are now.

This person lived through the changes as an adult, while I was too young and only recalled them from a child’s eyes. (That’s my story about being young and I’m sticking to it, LOL!)

I’ll give you an example. Up until the 1970s (I hear collective groans) women were not given maternity leave. Nope. Not until 1978 were we granted a secure position at work if we became pregnant thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. And we certainly didn’t use the ‘P’ word…

The 70s are given much grief for the war protestors, putrid polyester suits, and da bomb disco, but some huge milestones were marked during that time. To see more historical dates check out InfoPlease: Women’s Rights Movement in the U.S. If you’re interested in some Key Dates in Women’s History in another country, check out Australia’s Fawcett Society.

Now, my point here is not writing about milestones for women – all you men, just calm down. But if I were…anyway, my point is, when you are writing, make sure you don’t just rely on your memory of events: check facts out. If you recall something, find a primary source and go to town researching it.

While I’m perusing newspaper clippings, brochures, letters, and other primary documents for this project, I’m finding so many other useful tidbits. Like the ones I shared earlier, and the list at the end of this piece. Whether I write about a memory I have, or one from someone else, I research to my heart’s content.

Okay, bear with me another moment to mention milestones for women :). So as wonderful as the good ‘ole days were, they also brought tsk-tsking from men (and other women), when a woman tried to apply for a job and was told, NO, because she was the wrong gender.

Or, she couldn’t receive the same pay because the employer changed the job title…and all those countless other rights we women now have thanks to so many of our slightly older peers. Lest I carry on and ride my soapbox to an empty blogosphere, let me end with this.

When writing, never take anything for granted. When living, thank your contemporaries who made all things possible. When planning, leave a written legacy, for you too, will be an older peer one day.

More sites on Women’s Social Change:

Change.org

Human Rights Watch

Women’s International Center

Global Issues

 

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2 thoughts on “Rights, Research, and the American Way

  1. Well, I am in the blogsphere so it’s not entirely empty. But I know how the black hole scenario feels lately as I have discovered not a single local activist group involved or concerned with the Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline–and almost no awareness among groups I thought would be knowlegeable. Yeah, It’s an abyss.

    I really like your point about remembering those who went before so that we enjoy more freedom than they did. Carry ON!
    Go ROXIE! Go!

    • I appreciate that! You’re right, I’m part of that black hole, haven’t gotten my activist pants on lately…thanks for cheering me on, KUDOS to you for being so faithful to life, our planet, and keeping our feet to the fire. 🙂

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