The Crusader Newspaper Group


“We’ve come a long way, baby” is a phrase that was popular years ago. It was a Virginia Slims cigarette ad that targeted women, and alluded to the changing status of women in American society.

Not too long ago women were treated as second-class citizens. It’s surprising that so many people today don’t remember those days. There was a time when women were not able to do a lot of what is taken for granted now.

Back in the day, women were not allowed to buy property on their own; they were encouraged to get married and have their husbands take care of all important matters. Women could not wear pants, and very few of them worked outside the home. They were not generally seen in any of the political halls of power and good jobs were usually off limits to them.

There is at least one sitcom from the 1950s that provided a humorous depiction of this situation: The “I Love Lucy Show.”

This program featured Lucille Ball, her husband Desi Arnaz, and their family interactions, which usually turned out to be hilarious. Basically, Lucy was the housewife who took her duties seriously, and any money she needed was given to her by her husband as an allowance. Many of the show’s episodes focused on Lucy and her humorous attempts to finagle money from her husband because she always ended up overspending.

Women today have a very different situation. Many of them work outside the home and more are ascending to the sacred halls of power. Today they are CEOs of major corporations and are prominently represented in government positions. They are running for president of the U.S. and are achieving in every endeavor imaginable. Yet, the battle has not totally been won.

In America, the entire month of March has been set aside to honor the contributions of women. Originally, it started off as International Women’s Day, commemorated on March 8, when, in 1908, women marched for voting and working rights. Today, the celebration is a month long, and women have made incredible strides, but there is room for more, much more!

The Black family is now in the throes of a particularly peculiar situation that places an extra burden on the role women must play. They are faced with acting as heads of households because it is said that over 70 percent of all Black children are raised in fatherless homes.

Once upon a time, women were considered to be the “weaker sex,” but arguably, as a result of the gains they have made, that is no longer the dominant perception. Women are taking their places besides men to help to ensure community success.

Though women have indeed come a long way, there is still more distance to cover.

For example, the United States has not yet drummed up the nerve to seriously consider electing a woman president. Admittedly, it appears we are moving closer toward that goal!

Women have made progress, a lot of it, and this can’t help but bode well for our lives in America and around the world. Women, in spite of some lingering barriers, are excelling in almost every field. This includes making inroads in science, engineering, philosophy, politics, industry and more. Women are responsible for some incredible inventions and innovations that are helping to make all of our lives better.

Admittedly, there are men who remain reluctant to embrace feminine leadership, but this is to be expected. Change always requires some level of adjustment. But it can’t be doubted that today, a woman’s place is not just “barefoot and pregnant, in the home,” it is wherever she wants to be!

In this regard, the world will be a better place because of this; after all, “women hold up half the sky,” as the saying goes. And to be sure, the women of the “I Love Lucy” era would barely recognize the world today as it relates to women’s liberation, and that’s a good thing. It indicates progress for us all. A Luta Continua.

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