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Feminism is an ongoing conversation, not an endgame

“The Women’s Movement Stalled” was part of the 65th Everything Conceivable Conference on World Affairs, held at Colorado University in Boulder, Colo.

Panelists for “The Women’s Movement Stalled” were; Leah Buechley, a professor at MIT, Clare Murphy an international storyteller based in London, and Abby Rapoport, a journalist and staff writer for the American Prospect.  The format opened with each panelist giving a brief introduction and then engaging in a dialogue and formal question and answer session with the audience.

The audience was very diverse, including both men and women.

Predominant topics of conversation included: Proactive ways to continue the conversation about the feminist movement and mutual respect for women and men’s differences including using conscious language.  The panelists also discussed how important female mentors are to women of all ages, keeping a balance between work and home, and the concern about the widespread influence of pornography on the Internet for both young boys and girls.  Everyone agreed that comprehensive sex education is critical in providing children with an alternative view of sex and relationships.

While the conversation was stimulating, there was a mixed reaction in the audience.  One woman was overheard angrily declaring “The women’s movement has stalled; they didn’t even talk about abortion.”

Abby, Clare and Leah did not discuss abortion: they discussed feminism and the women’s movement from the perspective of engaged conversationalist’s.  Their closing comments focused on ways to  keep the conversation alive and evolving.  They did not offer a solution, they offered a way forward.

The Women's Movement Stalled
Abby Rapoport standing , Clare Murphy sitting, speaking with members of audience following presentation.

Colorado Women Stay Politically Engaged

The Colorado Women’s Lobby meets on the first and third Wednesday’s of each month at the Colorado Education Association (CEA) building in downtown Denver.  It is a completely volunteer organization that holds its meetings in a secured building.  I wasn’t sure what I was more surprised about; the locked building or the diverse group of people attending the meeting. In addition to the Women’s Lobby officers other groups represented included:  9 to 5, Colorado One, AARP, Colorado Jewish Alliance of Women, What the Frac Arapahoe, Senator Michael Bennett’s office, Colorado Reproductive Freedom Coalition (CRFC), the Freedom Fund, various students from social work programs at Denver University and Colorado University Denver and several women interested in learning about the issues being discussed.

Key bills being discussed, presented and voted upon included:  HB1222­ – The Family Care Act of 2013, HB1058 – Marital Maintenance, SB1 – The Working Family Economic Opportunity Package of 2013 and SB127 – Helping Older Adults Live Independently. While the Lobby voted to support these bills, Jennifer Miles a lobbyist, cautioned members to remember that “ there are a lot of requests for pieces of a pie that isn’t large enough.”

Brief reports on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) noted Senate approval and continued support by Senator Michael Bennett.  Colorado One representative reported that HB1081 passed out of committee despite virulent attacks on the LGBT community by several Colorado legislators.

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