There was a ripple in our modern world.
From this wave, voting rights for women were first won in 1893 in our land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. Our right to vote has been enshrined on the political page.
It has taken a little over a century to have this essential political right won by women around the world.
The tapestry of our first political wave has not been simplistic nor is it complete. Women continue to fight a brave battle. Obtaining our loom, lives have been given and taken. We protested in peace, we continued to love. We protest for peace, we love.
Through political activism women have won the right to vote in all but a few countries where our right is denied or conditioned. There are states trying to erode our abilities to enact our power of the vote. There are many places where casting a vote is dangerous or impossible for women.
To date our participation in the political system has created positive outcomes. We're eloquent with our newly won tools.
We’ve been effecting legislation, influencing political doctrine, changing the rule of law. We are participating and excelling within the freedoms now available to us.
Women are proven champions of peace, for children, the underprivileged and the environment. Through the political process we have improved the lives of women and all people for the better.
The institutions that govern and structure our lives are for the most, the exclusive construct of men. Our conduct of life has been created in the domain of man.
Anyone of the ideologies language has given his house, nationalism, socialism, fascism, religious fundamentalism, capitalism; women have had to serve and work to support the isms.
Women have been institutionalised, sanctioned. Enforced upon to contribute to a system that is not of our making.
Gender is the most fundamental of all social divisions.
Today women face violations of their rights in every town and city of each nation of the world. We are half of this world and are often referred to as a minority people.
We are the majority of those in poverty.
Most of us cannot read and write.
We are the larger portions of the labor force.
We’re paid the least, abused the most.
Our current position is reflected in all politics today.
We have been globalised in the process; we play a significant role in competitive trading.
We play a role.
Within these systems the majority of us have been cast in positions where we are made victims.
Women are victims of war, progress, economics, domestic and sexual violence and consumerism.
We are cheap labor; our bonds are deeper than the dollar.
We are overwhelmingly responsible for family and household.
We are the first to feel cutbacks in employment opportunities, health, education, social security and welfare.
State services will look to cut areas we occupy before ensuring our rights are secure.
These things make us expendable to the current system. We occupy the assembly line.
Most changes to women's voting rights have been more recent than the South Pacific ripple of 1893.
It can be a struggle in itself for our memory to not forget.
Swiss women won the right to vote in 1971. In South Africa white women in 1931, Indian and coloured women in 1984 and black women in 1994.
By voting and being able and willing to vote, we've begun to define our role and are participating in constructing an evolving system. We continue to create the world around us.
The first wave continues to roll across our ocean. It will break to shore once all women have the right to vote. It will rise again should our vote be threatened or lost.
In its wake came the second wave of political woman. A surge to obtain positions of power and change the status quo.
The second wave further implements strategies to secure and admit women to governance, to define and secure our rights in all arenas of life, public and private.
What may appear simple, safety, a day without a sexist remark, access to water & mid-wives, school books, education, the freedom to ware trousers or a short skirt, eaqual pay, a license to drive, obtaining a divorce, property and autonomy of self, body and soul, have been hard won battles not all yet won. For those won on paper, not all as yet to materialise.
The struggle continues.
In 1979 women won what was essentially our first International Bill of Rights. It is still contested to one degree or another.
In 1993 at The World Conference on Human Rights, our rights were at last recognised as human and we, as women.
By the year 2000 we were permitted under the Convention to take our complaints of rights violations to the United Nations.
We are operating within the system.
Our right to choose how we live in society as women is not given.
We fought for and justifiably won the right to participate in the political sphere.
This began with the vote.
As today slips into tomorrow, our political waves perpetuate the movement begun by the women (& a few good fellow's) before us.
They inspire us to keep treading.
Our current position is unprecedented...