Change makers for equality for women

By Marcia Barhydt

There’s an extraordinary new group of women coming together to lend their visibility and wisdom to all of us women boomers. The name of this group is Makers and their name refers to a three-hour documentary for PBS called MAKERS: Women Who Make America.

Their ranks include some very high profile women — Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice, Marlo Thomas, Barbara Walters, Oprah. And with only slightly lower profiles, Roe vs. Wade Attorney Sarah Weddington, First Female Justice at the Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor, Tennis Ace Billie Jean King, Stewardess Fighting Discrimination Dusty Roads, Xerox CEO and first woman member of the Augusta Golf Club Ursula Burns. Plus many “ordinary” ground-breaking women confronted with what equality means in their own lives.

From the program’s website: “MAKERS: Women Who Make America will tell this remarkable story for the first time in a comprehensive and innovative three-hour documentary for PBS, to air in early 2013. Built on the extraordinary archive of stories already completed for, the film will feature the stories of those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and the unintentional trailblazers — famous and unknown -– who carried change to every corner of society.”

So, what does this group do for us, for you and me? To start, at the very least they bring their own brand of equality for women and at the very most, they bring their high profile to lend credibility to their message in the documentary. The more visible equality is for women, the more this equality filters down to all women, particularly Boomer Women who are having some dynamic influences of our own in our own small circles.

These women, this documentary, both are highlighting the remaining imbalance of the roles women take on today. The women individually are inspiring, and collectively they are a steam roller for equality in allfacets of our lives.

I’m old enough to have witnessed the original Feminist Movement in the 1960s when feminism became mainstream for female boomers. Between the impact of the issues and the huge size of the female boomer population, the message of equality spread quickly, often aided by some evening news story of yet another bra burning. We fought for and often won a new vision of equality; not always, but often.

I’m also old enough to have gushed with excitement when I met Gloria Steinem in 2007 as I covered a luncheon fundraiser for a local women’s shelter. Between gushes, I said, “You spoke to me; you spoke to all of us.” Ms. Steinem replied, “And there are still so many to speak to, so many that we still have to help.”

Makers and their documentary will, I believe, bring the concerns of today’s boomer women to the forefront once again, just as they did in the 60s. But today we’ll be adding our forty more years of experience to our cause and to our voices.