For a time, I was a president of the Student Feminist Alliance. I was an appointed student representative on the University Commission on the Status of Women.
I attended and shot (as a photojournalist) sporting events that would not have been allowed to exist, would not have been funded, if it weren't for Title IX. (Even so, the women's basketball team wasn't allowed to play in the best fieldhouse on campus, except for big tournament games. Not in the early '80s, yet. By the late '80s, I would find myself shooting NCAA Women's Basketball in the University of Arkansas's primary arena).
We got a woman chancellor hired on campus, the first. We pushed for women to be legitimately considered for every major administrative position national search on campus. We didn't push nominally. Nobody just paid us lip service and hired some crony of a crony instead. Not unless they wanted to feel our wrath.
And somewhere in there, it all got woven in with Geraldine Ferraro. Back then we didn't falter. Didn't accept second-best or also-ran (not the way I see it repeatedly accepted now). Sure, good old boys made harumphing jokes about our lack of humor. How dare we refuse to laugh over being belittled or made the butt of unquestioned jokes?
I really don't think too much of all the compromises and "settling" that happens with the so-called "third wave" feminists. Give me some uppity, strident women any day. We've got NOTHING to apologise for.
And if we had any doubt about that, Geraldine Ferraro's nomination as the first woman as the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate blew that doubt away.
We'll miss her. But then, we have already been missing her and her (our) generation of feminists for a long time.
That said, we might also note that the first woman who was Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is a 71-year-old grandmother, and besides making history as one of the most effective Speakers ever, now as House Minority Leader, she is still taking NO prisoners.
I just wish we could get Hillary to run again. I'm not ready to let that greatest generation (after the Suffragettes, of course) pass into retirement.
New York Times Obituary:
Geraldine A. Ferraro, the former Queens congresswoman who strode onto a podium in 1984 to accept the Democratic nomination for vice president and to take her place in American history as the first woman nominated for national office by a major party, died Saturday in Boston.
“If we can do this, we can do anything,” Ms. Ferraro declared on a July evening to a cheering Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. And for a moment, for the Democratic Party and for an untold number of American women, anything seemed possible: a woman occupying the second-highest office in the land, a derailing of the Republican juggernaut led by President Ronald Reagan, a President Walter F. Mondale.
But Ms. Ferraro’s supporters proclaimed a victory of sorts nonetheless: 64 years after women won the right to vote, a woman had removed the “men only” sign from the White House door.
It would be another 24 years before another woman from a major party was nominated for vice president — Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican running mate of Senator John McCain, in 2008. And though Hillary Rodham Clinton came close to being nominated that year as the Democratic presidential candidate, a woman has yet to occupy the Oval Office. But Ms. Ferraro’s ascendance gave many women heart.
Ann Richards, who was the Texas state treasurer at the time and went on to become governor, recalled that after the Ferraro nomination, “the first thing I thought of was not winning in the political sense, but of my two daughters.”
In a statement, President Obama said Saturday, “Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life.”