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Year Of The Woman?

Beyonce Knowles Carter performs during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend on April 14 in Indio, California.
Beyonce Knowles Carter performs during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend on April 14 in Indio, California.

The incoming House of Representatives will have more women lawmakers than ever before.

Voters in Minnesota and New York selected progressive candidates of color like Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to represent them in the House. In the Senate, Democrat Jacky Rosen won in Nevada and Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, was victorious in Tennessee.

We also saw women reach creative heights in 2018.

— ⭐ amy o’connor ⭐ (@amyohconnor) December 16, 2018

The Time’s Up Foundation started at the beginning of this year as well. The organization reported that it raised more than $22 million for its legal defense fund, which supports women who have survived sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Many are hailing 2018 as the year of the woman.

Is it? While there were significant achievements in politics, art, pop culture and sports in the last 12 months, there were also reminders of consistent inequality and continuing challenges.

The New York Times Magazine reported on the condition of black mothers and babies in April.

Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel. In one year, that racial gap adds up to more than 4,000 lost black babies. Education and income offer little protection. In fact, a black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.

This tragedy of black infant mortality is intimately intertwined with another tragedy: a crisis of death and near death in black mothers themselves. The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world where the rate of maternal mortality — the death of a woman related to pregnancy or childbirth up to a year after the end of pregnancy — is now worse than it was 25 years ago.

Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee unleashed a wave of public trauma for women around the world.

As journalist and critic Rebecca Traister put it in The New York Times

Her voice trembled in moments of intense recollection; it sounded as though she might be crying, though no tears appeared to fall. She described a past sexual assault and the more recent media assault on her in excruciating and vulnerable detail, but did not yell, did not betray a hint of the fury she had every reason to feel as she was forced to put her pain on display for the nation.

That is how women have been told to behave when they are angry: to not let anyone know, and to joke and to be sweet and rational and vulnerable.

Outside the room where Christine Blasey Ford was testifying on Thursday morning, women were incandescent with rage and sorrow and horror.

What has changed — and what hasn’t — for women in the last year? We’re taking a look.

Show produced by Amanda Williams.


Abby Livingston, Washington bureau chief, The Texas Tribune; @TexasTribAbby

Susan Chira, Senior correspondent and editor on gender issues, The New York Times; @susanchira

Inez Stepman, Senior Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum; senior contributor, The Federalist; @inezfeltscher

Karine Jean-Pierre, Chief Public Affairs Officer, MoveOn; Lecturer, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs; @K_JeanPierre.

Alice Tapper, Local 6th grader; Girl Scout

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5