In March of this year, we marked the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. While we should celebrate the significant progress in the last 100 years, we must remember that in too many societies, women are second class citizens, denied their fundamental rights.

Both houses of congress approved the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1972, but it never received ratification by the required 38 states within the allotted time frame — originally 7 years, extended to 10 — so it never became a part of our constitution. (Only 35 states ratified).

1. I protested for equal rights for minorities in '64 (and got gassed and clubbed).
2. Starting in '65, I actively participated in the anti-war movement (and got gassed and clubbed). 3. I campaigned for equal rights for women starting in '68 (and got gassed).

I have personally observed Washington D.C. policemen continue to club anti-war protesters repeatedly, even once they were down on the ground just trying to protect their heads. It is fascinating to me that our government preaches restraint against protesters, to foreign leaders currently under siege, in light of the lack of restraint I have witnessed here in my lifetime. And of course there was the Kent State massacre and a less publicized killing of a couple of black students on another campus that same year. Is anyone besides me afraid of the police and National Guard?

I'm tired.

1. Though racial discrimination was outlawed in 1964 (WOOT!), I believe we still harbor the same number of racists.
2. And if we did ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and the law did prohibit discrimination against women, I believe we'd still harbor the same number of misogynists.
3. And the war machine marches on, killing and maiming our sons and daughters by the thousands.

I'm tired.

Laws don't change men, so I question myself: Why have I used so much energy in my life working to change laws?

I'm taking a different tack. I'm no longer down with pounding the pavement or getting gassed or clubbed to accomplish social change. Younger folks need to carry that torch. Major kudos to the Occupy Wall Street folks.

I will work to change people one person at a time. That's my comfort zone now. To heck with the laws. If people weren't racist, we wouldn't need a law against discrimination.
If men weren't idiots, we wouldn't need laws protecting women.
It will take a multi-generational re-education of the masses to achieve any real social progress here in the USA. To accomplish this:

1. Parents, model tolerance for your children.
2. Men, model sensitivity for your sons.
3. Women, value yourselves. Demand reasonable behavior from your men, then your daughters will pass on that legacy.

Until women have equal rights under the law -- AND IN THE MINDS OF MEN -- we cannot call ourselves civilized.

Author's Bio: 

I am a retired hypnotherapist, author, inventor, and club racquetball pro. I live in an 1813 farmhouse in upstate New York with my wife, Eileen, and when I'm not writing political/social change oriented articles, I spend a good amount of my time working on the sequel to my first novel, "The Zedland Chronicles" sub-titled, "Orphan Running." I admire men like Mahatma Ghandi and also Pete Seeger, who remains on the front lines in the battle for social/political change in spite of his advanced age.