By Corky LeTellier
Women's History Month. What a long way we have come. Tumult in the 1960s changed us, gave us a big leap forward. From one generation not speaking about sex and the human body to the next clamoring for medically accurate information to make informed decisions about sexuality. From backstreet and sometimes fatal encounters to safe access for our health care.
The birth experience itself was on a path to come full circle. My mother had no choices about giving birth, even though her husband was a doctor. By the time I was ready for a child, I was nurtured through the process and given all the options.
The collective “we” became feminists, worked to gain our independence, began to demand equality. That led to many of us assuming that the culture would change – and it has, to a large degree. We married, had babies and hoped that by teaching our daughters and sons about interconnectedness and the humanity of all we could take more steps forward.
Perhaps we overestimated our reach and became complacent. While my children were young, I went to trade our old car for a new one. The salespeople insisted that I have my husband's permission. Had things really changed? Were women becoming part of the greater circle of humans or still being held back? Did we really want to waste half of our society's brain power?
After two abortions (I am a slow learner), one that almost took my life, I find it amazing that women are not more outraged and vocal against these new restrictions on access and safety. For the past five years, I have been teaching young men and women about puberty, sex, choices for birth control and communication.
In so many parts of the world, women are still struggling to gain some measure of respect. Women in this country have to be visible to prove that there is hope through education for equality, for safe accessible health care and for the choices they can make with their own lives.
Corky LeTellier is a mother (to Ms. Foundation for Women Senior Manager, Institutional Relations, Sunny Daly) and grandmother, a sexuality educator, a quilter, a real estate agent, a caretaker, a volunteer and a lifetime learner. She recently moved out of the mountains of California to help out her mother in Naples, Fla.