I did my hike this morning at record speed, cursing the patriarchy the whole time.
I’m furious that anti-abortion legislation is coming down the pipeline. That it’s happening at all is a travesty, but what has me furious is the timing, that it would happen now.
After the year women have had! A year where we’ve carried society through a pandemic, born the burden of never-ending childcare, put our own lives at risk to nurse the sick, found a new way to educate — all of this heaviness has fallen disproportionately on women.
The nightmare isn’t over yet, because even as politicians beg the economy to reopen, reliable and safe childcare is still hard to come by. Mothers, by and large, are exhausted. And now lawmakers are kicking us while we’re down.
We all saw the results of this pandemic year, plain as day: women were pushed out of the workplace. Because of unpaid labor women were forced to do at home, we lost years — some say decades — of progress in the workplace, progress that makes many of us feel whole.
And now, when we are not yet out of these pandemic woods, when our tanks have been on empty for months, when we barely have the bandwidth to take care of ourselves and our families lest fight another fight, lawmakers want to make one more effort to keep us at home where we belong.
That is exactly what will happen if we eliminate access to abortions. If women don’t have control over their own bodies and life choices, many of the big things we would otherwise achieve will remain undone, leaving men with all the decision-making power. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the abortion debate is solely about saving fetuses. People in power will do everything they can to keep it, especially when they feel it slipping away.
Courtney Martin wrote in a recent essay that it makes sense that the patriarchy would throw a tantrum as it gets shown out the door. Anyone would resist if they sensed extinction. These last-ditch efforts are to be expected.
Because even if our broken system gets a little more broken in the next few years, even if the anti-abortion movement sees short-term success, policies that hold women down will not win in the long run. We are raising girls and boys and kids who identify as both or neither to lead us in the future, and these kids will not stand for nineteenth century nonsense. They will expect our country to do better, to be better.
This morning I asked myself how I might funnel this rage productively, besides racing up a mountain until my lungs feel like they’ll burst and donating to Planned Parenthood.
Here’s where I think I can help best: supporting women as they grow in leadership and business. Every time I explore a new business idea, I consider it through this lens: how will I use this venture to support women in their careers and at home?
Because we need more women making influential decisions.
We need more women with money.
We need more women with power.
We are coming for you, patriarchy. We are coming.