WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN OUR TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY

I am proud to be an American and extremely proud to be a first generation college graduate, law school graduate, and lawyer.  In fact, I have been a lawyer for more than 37 years.  In that time, due to my specialization in divorce, I have had the privilege to represent men and women in their various life circumstances.  What has been fascinating is the way the roles in marriages have evolved for both men and women.  In 1975 through the early 1980’s, the traditional marriage consisted largely of women being child-rearers and homemakers.  The men were the bread winners.  In a divorce of that nature, the women customarily got custody of the children, and the men paid child support, sometimes alimony, and had visitation consisting of every other weekend.

Our society has evolved greatly since the “old days”.  We all know that marriages can now mean that the men stay home and the women work, and in the event of divorce, with the roles reversed, the outcome is reversed.  We all know that marriages, at least in Massachusetts and other progressive states, can consist of same sex individuals, and divorces are handled much the same way.  We have grown as a society tolerating differences of others as is fitting for a democratic society which is largely occupied by educated and cultured individuals.  A society where genetic research is occurring to allow for the ultimate treatment of once fatal diseases, where technology now employs such wonders as “the cloud” to allow each of us access to the information acquired over the ages, where electronic books provide us with literature and newspapers like the New York Times on demand, is a fitting society for people who live there and enjoy this fruit of our society to be open minded.

How, then, in such a society can there be retrograde?  That is, how can an individual running for the prestigious office of United States Senate make an ignorant, uninformed statement about rape and women having the ability “shut down their bodies” to prevent pregnancy?  How does a dinosaur exist in our society that would tear at the fabric of what generations of men and women have built?  Where are the great ideas and the imaginations to stimulate thought and curiosity to further the civilization in which we live?  By making such an intemperate statement, this candidate for Senate questions the veracity of women and their worthiness.  He puts them into the “red tent” once a month to deal with “those issues”.

I typically reserve my writing to issues that I hope people find helpful and interesting, but in this instance, as a proud member of our society, the only way I know how to express my indignation is my writings.  I do not mention this candidate for U.S. Senate by name, understand his rights in a free society to express his opinion, but for the reasons given, I am embarrassed that his remarks were made.

In the beginning of my comments I proceeded from 1975 when I first became a practicing attorney and remarked about the changes in roles.  But the evolution began, not in the 70’s, but more so in the 1940’s when women worked what were men’s jobs while the war was being fought, and in the 1960’s that we baby boomers well remember.  As stated, people can express their opinions about Roe v. Wade, federal spending on birth control, and glass ceilings in corporate America.  Our minstrel Bob Dylan sang “the times, they are a changing”, and so they did.  Women have rights as people and have the right to vote and stand outside of anyone’s shadow.  The progression of technology is linear.  The progression of mankind and womankind is not… circuitous in nature, I think.  Not only as an American and a lawyer, but as a father and husband, I hope we get there.

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