Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NCGA Session Begins Jan. 14: What's a Woman to Do?

40 Years Ago Today: A Jan. 13, 1975 news
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Did you know that it took fair state of North Carolina until 1971 to ratify the 1920 Constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote? The pre-1953 style anti-woman politics we've seen from the legislature these last two years is appalling, and may we suggest, insulting, to 21st century women who believe in their right to self-determination and bodily autonomy. But when the North Carolina General Assembly session begins Jan. 14, we don't have to sit idly waiting for unfavorable decisions, like the 'Motorcycle Vagina Bill' to be handed down without question.We can choose to take action instead.

Here are 3 things every woman can do to get good bills out of committee and into the hands of good lawmakers:

1. Write letters about key women's issues to your legislators.

Legislators are insulated from their constituents due to geography, safety concerns, and the business of legislation. It follows that important women's issues don't make it onto their radar when we're silent, and silence is often mistaken for compliance, agreement, or unconcern. What better way to change the status quo than to write a letter about important women's issues, your position, and your reasons? When enough letters show up, the topic gets a second look. Then a third.

2. Show up at a women's civil rights event.

With Women's History Month on the near horizon, we should begin to see a number of events featuring the contributions of female leaders. Some of those will even offer opportunities for direct involvement in the legislative process, while others focus on protest actions. Where to start? Why not "Google" the N.C. Women United's Feb. 24 event in honor of Women's Advocacy Day? Or plan to attend our upcoming local meeting on 2nd Sunday in February at 2:30  p.m. at the YWCA on S. French Broad, and discuss your civil rights with other concerned women, and help us make a big deal of of issues that are a big deal.

3. Join your local chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Local chapters like the one in Asheville are passionate about women's issues. If you have had quite enough from our duly elected state legislators and want to increase public awareness about women's issues, NOW offers you hands on opportunities to do exactly that - plus, you get to choose your area and level of involvement. Or, if you're already an at-large member of NOW, but are not involved at the local level, we invite you to bring it home by designating your local affiliation.

Email Asheville NOW: A Leading Voice for Women, at ashevillenow@live.com, and ask for information about how to become a member. To get women's news you can use, sign up for our e-news and correspondence on the top right of this page.

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