What an amazing lifetime
it has been for those of us born in the age of radio, Buck
Rogers and the Great Depression, and have lived to enjoy
pocket cell phones that make calls, record them, and that
take pictures, develop them, and even take dictation – along
with space travel and bikini bathing suits. The technological
progress has been nearly incredible and has made life easier
in so many different ways there is not the space to record
them. Probably in our lifetime, robots that respond to our
voice command and relieve us of most of the household chores
we now do for ourselves will be commonplace. What unimaginable
technical advances these would have seemed a lifetime ago.
On the other hand, one has to be struck by the terrible realization
that our social developments as human beings lagged far behind
our technological evolution. We still kill one another in savage
warfare over causes we barely understand. Our great minds were
capable of producing an atom bomb and multiplying its destructive
capacity by many degrees, but they have not been sufficient
to deal with the task of agreeing on peaceful resolution of
One of the reasons
may be that from primitive times, until very recently, women
have been excluded from the job of designing and enforcing
the rules, rituals, and arrangements we live by. Women figures
were featured as disruptive forces like Pandora and Aphrodite,
or as sexual virgins like Athena and Artemis. Classical Greek
civilization severely curtailed women’s
political participation. Athens relegated them to the household.
Jewish monotheism was founded upon worship of a male creator
and lawgiver, as was Christianity, which banned the notion
of female priests while stressing Eve’s role in seducing
After 2000 years, the position of women around the globe has
begun to change at an accelerating rate. The more they are
allowed to demonstrate their valuable intelligence, nurturing
instincts and powerful capacity for practicality married to
civility, the more room is made for their participation. This
is true particularly in the industrialized and more culturally
progressive parts of the world like the United States.
But there is still a very long way to go!
Women are still not
paid as well as men for the same kind of services. Men have
blocked their attempt to pass an amendment to the Constitution
of the United States that would guarantee them equal treatment.
They continue to be systematically excluded from the best-paying
and most prestigious jobs although there are an increasing
number of notable exceptions. Indeed at the moment it is
conceivable, although not probable, that the next race for
President of the United States will involve women candidates
from both major parties—Hillary Clinton and
What is less noticed and deserves both recognition and praise
is the large number of women who, without ceremony or celebrity,
are performing valuable community roles as legislators, educators,
civil servants, teachers, school counselors and treasured volunteers.
Many volunteers advocate for a better quality of life for children
and families by serving on boards of foundations and not-for-profit
organizations. These valiant women deserve our gratitude and
should be remembered as our community heroes. Altogether they
are infusing our lives with more and more of the special qualities
that are so valuable to this world.
God created more women than men. When She did that, She did
all the rest of us a great favor.#
Former NYS First Lady Matilda Cuomo is Founder and Chairperson
of Mentoring USA.