The battle of the sexes rages on in 2019. Not the famous tennis game between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, but the feminist movement of the millennium.
Women gained the right to vote 100 years ago this month in the United States. From there, women have pushed women’s rights into realms besides voting.
That push is common sense. Women being free of violence, discrimination and the like are worthy goals.
A woman can work for gender-based fairness without having to hate men. Likewise, women do not have to be an emotional or physical doormat to men to be considered valuable to themselves or the men.
There is no either/or. In 2019, we can have any combination of activism, feminism, marriage, single life, career, work or homemaking that we choose.
Toxic versions of womanhood, femininity, or feminism must go.
Toxic feminism or femininity can manifest in emotionally or physically violent behavior toward one’s self and others based upon bad ideas of what gives a woman status. These are the times we see women encouraging or assisting in abuse of children, other women or men.
We also see the toxic feminism or femininity at work in individuals or groups of women attacking others with gossip, bullying, misinformation and lies.
How do women find balance and civility in this era of toxicity?
The answer is simple. Women must connect to healthy women as examples of femininity and feminism.
There are many ways for a woman to connect to positive women. Groups like ZONTA — one of the first service organizations to understand women’s unique role in shaping women’s lives are a great choice.
Back in 1919, ZONTA International began working for economic, social, educational, legal, health and political equality for women. Colorado Springs has had a chapter since 1949.
As Colorado works to advance women’s rights with new laws like the recent Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, groups like this are vital for women. Positive groups like ZONTA support healthy attitudes about what womanhood is as well as how women fit into our state.
Our Colorado Springs ZONTA club works to advance the status of women and serve our community through local and international contributions.
They also help women to achieve personal and professional growth in a nurturing and supportive environment. The Space Foundation and the Zonta Club of the Pikes Peak Area are hosting a STEM Fair for women: “Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math): Exploring and Equipping”.
On Monday, author Jill S. Tietjen, who wrote the book “Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America” will talk at the career fair.
It is hoped that the talk will inspire local women with stories from her career as an engineer, and what she has learned about women in the STEM fields through her ongoing research.
The STEM career fair is an opportunity for attendees to learn about the economic prospects for careers in STEM.
It also creates access to practical advice and resources to help women enter or switch into a STEM field.
Speakers and a speaker’s panel, exhibitors from education and industry, and a chance to network will be provided, along with breakfast and lunch.
This is a great opportunity for women (and men) to improve one’s financial status through effective career planning in high paying STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
Local favorite, Dr. Tatiana Bailey, will do an economic update and forecast, focusing especially on the STEM job market in the Colorado Springs area.
ZONTA hopes to debunk the common misconception that a STEM career requires a woman to be educated in and adept at highly technical skills. Many STEM oriented jobs are hiring professionals from other fields who can adapt to new information.
2019 is an exciting time to be a woman in Colorado.
Women are choosing whatever fits their values and ideas of femininity or feminism to be homemakers, career women and many other options that combine both.
It seems that Colorado is on the cutting edge of common sense that simply encourages fairness between genders.
If you are interested in learning more about the Zonta Club of the Pikes Peak Area in Colorado Springs, visit: zontapikespeak.org.
Rachel Stovall is a longtime community advocate and organizer. Also a fundraising, media and marketing consultant, Stovall is most known for singing with her dance band Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors.