Happy Birthday, Eleanor Smeal

30 Jul

Eleanor Smeal, known for her pioneering work during the Second Wave Feminist Movement, continues to carve out her legacy for civil rights in the Third Wave Feminist Movement. She is the president and founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation.  Smeal also served as president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) twice.  Thus far her legacy is most impressive and Americans owe her a great debt of gratitude.

Everyone should know who Eleanor Smeal is!  It was Smeal who was responsible for the passage of such landmark cases as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (a woman cannot be fired for being pregnant), Equal Credit Act, Civil Rights Restoration Act, Violence Against Women Act, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (and yet we still see women being attacked as they try to enter health clinics that merely provide abortions), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, an extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

What I love about Smeal is her authenticity.  She practices “the personal is political,” and all of us reap the benefits from her dedication to civil rights. Happy Birthday, Eleanor.

Happy Birthday to another hero of mine: Pat Schroeder, Colorado Congressional Representative (1973-97), who promoted the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Sadly, Schroeder was taken to task for showing emotion and shedding tears–the hypocrisy and irony is not lost on TSM readers who have had to endure the gratuitous praise John (Mock Turtle) Boehner receives every time he cries in public.

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9 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Eleanor Smeal”

  1. newsofthetimes July 30, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    A couple of my sheroes as well! And you are so right about the tears! Such irony! Thanks for another thoughtful post!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 30, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      Jenni,
      I love that you use the word “sheroes!” I also use that word, but was afraid if I used it in my blog, people would know what I meant. Thank you for your comments.
      Warm regards,
      Michael

      • newsofthetimes July 30, 2012 at 8:03 am #

        We need to bust that word out more so everyone understands! I love your blog. You keep me centered on what is most important. Keep up the great work!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 30, 2012 at 8:05 am #

        Thank you so very much! I am honored with your words, as they come from your heart and from a place of equal dedication to social justice.

      • newsofthetimes July 30, 2012 at 8:07 am #

        🙂

  2. Christine Noble July 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    I love Pat Schroeder to bits. and was rooting for her on when she ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Eleanor Smeal I have mixed feelings on. She has been a great advocate on women’s issues and takes no guff from patriarchal fools. She has, however, been deafeningly silent when it comes to addressing the transphobia among radical feminists. Sorry, but I obviously have a very personal dog in that fight.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

      Christine,
      We share a love for our Pat. Thank you for educating me about Smeal’s silence around transgender issues. I’m both sad and disappointed.

      • Christine Noble July 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

        It’s not the worst thing, it’s not like she’s made transphobic statements herself, but the radfems get way to loud a voice and many of them have flat out stated that they believe the very existence of trans* women is violence against women.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

        Christine,
        I have heard “the very existence of trans* women is violence against women” this before and it always breaks my heart and makes me cry. I don’t understand; it seems like we eat our own at times within the LGBTQ community.

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