Let's Write "The Gender Speech"

When Senator Obama called on our nation to create a more perfect union, his appeal resonated deeply with Americans of every race. His words spoke to the legacies of the grief and guilt, anger and apprehension that we bear as a nation, remnants of a history which has never been remedied. We are all scarred by the racial wounds of injustice, and we will be perpetually hindered as individuals, as communities, and as a nation until we address the historic and current, the overt and discreet, the personal and the structural, manifestations of racism in our society.
When Senator Obama called on our nation to create a more perfect union, his appeal resonated deeply with Americans of every race. His words spoke to the legacies of the grief and guilt, anger and apprehension that we bear as a nation, remnants of a history which has never been remedied. We are all scarred by the racial wounds of injustice, and we will be perpetually hindered as individuals, as communities, and as a nation until we address the historic and current, the overt and discreet, the personal and the structural, manifestations of racism in our society.

Obama’s speech has paved the way for a much-needed conversation on race in America. Yet there is another essential element to creating a more perfect union: acknowledging and rectifying the persistent and pervasive injustices based on gender that women continue to experience in all areas of life. If we are, in Senator Obama’s words, “to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America” then we must march for women as well.

What would a speech on gender sound like? Would it speak to the continued wage gap, the perpetual attacks on women’s sexual autonomy, the lack of affordable child care and healthcare? Would it reference the continued political disenfranchisement and under-representation of women in the upper echelons of business and politics? Of the unity and divisions which exist among women themselves?

We need to open up the conversation on gender in America. And it is our thought, at The White House Project, that no one woman, or leader, or organization should be writing that speech. Instead, the women of our nation must join together to chart this course. Only then can we speak to the diversity of women’s experiences, our shared and divergent historical repression, and the realities of our lives today.

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