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One giant step for women

Written by Danielle Adone on . Posted in Reviews

MAKERS: Women Who Make America, a recent three-hour PBS documentary, tells the story of the most invigorating revolution in the nation's history – the rise of women.

makersIt has taken decades, but women have finally asserted a fair spot in the power of opportunity. Narrated by Oscar winning actress Meryl Streep, the documentary takes a journey through decades of women's biggest accomplishments, as well as their biggest struggles, from some of the most inspirational women in the world.

The documentary opens with 20-year-old college student Kathrine Switzer competing in the male only Boston marathon in 1967.

At the time, women were not allowed to compete in long distance running competitions because men felt a woman could not endure the blood, sweat and tears needed to complete a marathon.

Switzer entered the race with her first initial only and until she actually began running, there was no suspicion that she was a female. Switzer not only opened the doors for female runners, but for an entire women's revolution.

She said, "In a marathon you go through a lifetime of experience – I started the Boston marathon as a girl and finished as a grown woman." The females of America started this revolution as girls and through the efforts of icons like Switzer, became women.

This revolution was personal as well as public. It was not only about how the world was going to view women, but how women were finally seen themselves.

In the early- mid 1900's women felt guilty if their children and homes did not satisfy them. NY Times weekly job postings were separated by gender, and women felt there was no way to cross the barrier.

Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique in 1963, which opened up the eyes of many women that were seeking more satisfaction of their lives in education or a career that was limited to them for year's prior.


Gloria Steinem, a female journalist in the 1970's, took years to be taken seriously in the media industry. She began to speak out in public about how she wanted to write and be heard. She said, "Today's girls don't want to be our mothers we want to be something totally different."

At the time, feminist writers proceeded to encourage women to explore their sex drives.

With magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Redbook, sex was something women should be proud of; satisfying their man as well as satisfying themselves. In earlier years, these columns would have never been published and with the creation of the birth control, there was a new perspective on America's sexual revolution.

During the early years of the revolution, a woman could not even get a credit card without her husband's signature.

Women today don't even get married till 30 years old and they would have no way to build credit. Landlords in most places didn't trust that the woman would be able to pay rent without a salary from a male figure, so apartments were far and few between for women.

The documentary featured segments by some of America's most cherished women; including Hillary Clinton, Barbara Walters, Judy Blume, Ellen DeGeneres, Madonna and Oprah.

In the 1980's, women were slowly rewriting the rules and moving forward toward a new chapter. In 1980, Oprah got paid $22,000 a year co-anchoring a show with a man; he was doing exactly the same job, but getting paid $50,000 more than double her salary.

When she asked for an explanation the answer was simple "He has to support his family and kids, do you?" Oprah was determined to show the industry that women deserved equal pay.

Being on the "Forbes 100 Richest People in America" list, its safe to say through determination and hard work, Oprah made it.

Through many protests along with determined strong women – women have thrived so much since the first mile Switzer ran in the Boston Marathon in 1967.

Women were never looking for a guarantee for success; they were simply looking for the opportunity to try. Today, working mothers have been commonly referred to as "superwomen."

The editorials have common pictures of a woman with six arms; she has a briefcase in one hand, iPhone in another and her daughter in the other. The modern day American family needs two steady incomes to survive. Today, women fear not being able to "have it all." Being able to balance life at home and in the office is no easy task, but let's face it nothing worthwhile has ever come easy.

After a 50-year revolution still in the making, women still make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. However, this revolution changed the way people think about women and the way women think about themselves.

The MAKERS: Women Who Make America documentary showed the modern day woman to not only appreciate every opportunity we have, but that the only limitations we have today are the ones we instill upon ourselves.

 

 

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