Never Underestimate the Power of Women on Social Media!
When the Republicans took over the House majority in January of 2011, it didn’t take long to see that they would be pushing an extreme agenda that would roll back women’s rights to the 1950’s.
The opening salvo was a vain attempt to repeal Obamacare, legislation designed to cover millions of Americans who currently don’t have access to healthcare. Most of those Americans are women and their families. Of course, after they got their press release and fifteen minutes on C-SPAN, they went on to more mischief. They tried to de-fund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides healthcare and preventative cancer screenings to millions of women nationwide. They refused to let women testify before Congress on the issue of contraception. And, of course, their raucous leader and provocateur, Rush Limbaugh, took to the airwaves to deem a Georgetown Law Student a “slut” because she uses birth control.
Not to be outdone by their Federal brethren, State lawmakers embarked on their own journey of gender oppression. Kansas sought to shut down abortion clinics across the state, Mississippi legislators took it upon themselves to define “personhood”, Arizona succeeded in de-funding Planned Parenthood, and the Speaker of the Michigan State House of Representatives silenced and censured an elected representative for using the word “vagina” while debating the merits of legislation affecting women’s reproductive health.
This was too much to take for many women. Especially those of us who have fought long and hard for the rights that we are, unbelievably, in danger of losing. Thus began the birth of a movement. Or, maybe more accurately, the re-birth of a movement.
In their own words, UniteWomen.org:
Like the majority of people in this country, two women were talking on and off over the past year about the astonishing legislation and rhetoric taking place in our House of Representatives, the media and many of the States across our country attacking our rights…from reproductive rights to voting rights to human rights.
In the wee hours of February 19th, two women were venting over the phone…Karen Teegarden from Michigan and Desiree Jordan from New York…why weren’t women taking to the streets? As they hung up Desiree commented, “we should just do it…if we build it, they’ll come.”
How many of us have made statements like that only to go on with our lives? Well, not this time! Karen decided to take action. She created a Facebook group, naming it “Organizing Against the War on Women,” posted it on her wall and other Facebook walls and asked Desiree to do the same.
Upon waking up the next morning there were almost 500 people asking to join and offering up their experience and skill set. Ten weeks later, Unite Against The War on Women held 55 events in 45 States across the country with 47,000 in attendance.
Today (July, 2012) UniteWomen.org has state community groups in every state, a Facebook page with over 30,000 “likes,” Twitter, a YouTube Channel, a Blog, BlogTalkRadio and Tumblr.
Two months later, UniteWomen.org has a reach on Facebook of over 13 million users, and without purchasing one single ad.
It has often baffled me as to why a political party would do it’s level best to alienate half of the population, but what is even more baffling is why anyone in their right mind would invoke the wrath of American women. Not a very smart calculus, in my opinion. Nonetheless, they asked for this fight.
Women have united across the country – online, at rallies, at cocktail parties, at sporting events, over lunch, in the board rooms, and most importantly, at the ballot box.
In 1942, the Ladies Home Journal’s adopted the slogan “Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman”.
In 2012, we are in solidarity, we are organized, and we have conquered social media.