Each year on or near International Women’s Day, we pause to reflect on the condition of women here and elsewhere in the world. While some claim that women in the U.S. have gained equality, the news about who is at the bottom of the economic ladder, whose reproductive rights are under fire, and who is being sold in the international sex trade tells another story. Equality is one of the central values stated in both the Declaration of Universal Human Rights and Unitarian Universalist principles. Hermann Melville called it “the center and circumference of all democracy.” What is equality? Sameness, likeness, equivalence, balance, fairness or all of the above? Can we stop fighting about what it means and defend it as a moral imperative? More important, can we “make it happen” for all women instead of just a few?
Estella Lauter, Professor Emerita UW Oshkosh, retired in Door County in 2004 after 33 years of teaching at UWGB and UW Oshkosh. She helped to develop women’s studies and American Indian studies in addition to teaching literature and interdisciplinary courses in the arts. She continues to teach a winter course in literature by and about women at the Clearing, and is the current Poet Laureate of Door County (2013-2015).