On Friday, I was fortunate to be surrounded by some of this country’s most inspirational women, who were gathered at The Women’s Museum in Dallas for the Veteran Feminists of America event “The Gender Agenda: Beyond Borders.” For the 250 of us in attendance, the event provided a chance to reflect upon women’s past, women’s present and women’s future. One hundred years ago we could not even vote; today, we are half the workforce; in the future, there’s still much to achieve.
“Moments like this allow us to stop and take stock of where we are and where we have been. But they also force us to recognize how far we have yet to go,” noted honoree Dr. Rita Kirk. The smiles that spread through the great halls of the museum suggested Dr. Kirk was not alone in her enthusiasm and hopes for the future.
Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem delivered the keynote speech. “Radical does not mean you’re violent. It means you go to the root,” she said. She was also featured in the documentary that was screened, Sisters of ’77, about the first-ever National Women’s Conference in 1977.
“You can’t create change until you have the imagination of change,” said Gloria in the documentary. It seemed to me that the women in attendance at the event had believed in change and made life-altering changes—these women had gone to the “root.” Many of the women who were honored had sought careers in male-dominated fields. Many had fought for equality.
“We are passing the torch to our daughters and granddaughters,” said honoree Vivian Castleberry, the first woman editorial board member at the Dallas Times Herald. As members of this next generation, we owe it to the strong and powerful women who have come before us to take on the duties that come with the torch. And taking heed of Gloria’s words, we will continue to strive to get at the “root.”
ABOVE: Photo of Dallas Women’s Museum by Andreas Praefcke, reprinted under Creative Commons CC-BY 3.0 and GFD.