Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.
Day 4 of 31- Silent Sentinel
March 3rd, 1913 a woman by the name of Alice Paul organized a woman’s suffrage parade of more than 5,000 women participants from every state in the union. This wasn’t just any day, it was President Wilson’s first inauguration. It wasn’t your typical parade, Paul and the participants were marching in the name of woman’s suffrage. Onlookers assaulted the marchers which very quickly escalated to a volatile situation.
Four years later, Alice Paul broke away from the National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA) to form a more radical delegation of women’s rights activists called the National Women’s Party (NWP). It was also during that time that she assembled the “Silent Sentinels” to protest President Wilson’s ongoing lack of support for women’s suffrage. As pictured above, these women asked the obvious questions: “how long must liberty wait and “what will you do for women’s suffrage”.
Why is this important?
This moment in history verifies what I have been saying in previous posts- when you choose awareness and action over ignorance and inaction- it is a problem. Alice Paul and her fellow suffragists were attacked while police officers pretended not to see the attacks and then they were arrested and put away for seven months. I note that when the NYPD and Ferguson had the center stage last year, I did not choose silence over what I knew, I spoke up and called them out – namely the administration for having a poor system and and even worse practices. As a wife to a detective and someone who grew up with the NYPD, I felt there was no one better to talk about the real issues that were causing the civil unrest than me. In return, I had several men chime in. One said that they hoped for my husband’s sake that I was “hot” and that I must be an “A-1 ball-buster at home”. Another exclaimed ” who is this chick that thinks she knows the NYPD and how to fix the issues- she hasn’t a clue.”
Like Alice Paul, these men found my rhetoric and disposition to be “unladylike” and “radical”. In 2015, it is still the opinion of many men that a woman should know her place. I should be seen and not heard. Since I have an opinion, I must automatically drive my husband insane. If the latter is true, the only way the relationship could be worth it (according to these guys) is if I were “hot”. It is not only pathetic but sad, that I even have this as an anecdote to share.
Here’s the facts: I don’t bust balls for folly, but I certainly will-if warranted. I am allowed to have an opinion and feel empowered to speak up, if I choose. I am very much a lady and also radical when the spirit moves me. I don’t take kindly to anyone telling me when and how I should react. I am confident in my skin and operate on these premises, because my father (a man) constantly drilled me on the importance of being independent and strong. I’ve seen what hair twirling, flirting and “lady-like” behavior gets women in the boardroom. You get smirks, raised eyebrows and side-eye from the women witnessing a weak attempt of a fellow woman trying to be seen as worthy and viable. I simply wish that as women we could just show up unapologetically and be accepted for what we bring to the table.
In conclusion, the men that were spewing this stuff had never been schooled on social media 101 apparently. As such, it never occurred to them that the thread they were bashing me on would be seen by my dad. I can tell you that no matter how old a woman gets, no father takes kindly to people speaking ill of their daughter. My dad had a field day with one of them-to which this gentleman agreed he was in the wrong for making assumptions about who I was because he didn’t like my opinion. While I can’t be sure if these men were truly sorry or just sorry that the father of the conspirator caught them in the act, This situation and others ensure that I will continue to speak out in the future.
The time for women to be paid equitably, treated fairly , and regarded as the awesome human beings we are is now. Alice Paul was fighting this fight over 96 years ago, isn’t it time?
Czarina’s Lesson: When it comes to the fight for civil liberties, what is old is new and what is new is old. There’s no true liberty until everyone is afforded the same opportunities and rights.