2018: the year of women
2018 will be the year of women
(CNN) 2017 has been a turbulent and trying year for women.
Beginning with the inauguration of Donald Trump, the year saw an escalation of the Republican Party’s attacks on women, including efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, undermine women’s legal and reproductive rights and slash essential health benefits.
There were also threats to issues women care about: protections for children, civil rights and the environment, just to name a few. And then came the explosive epidemic of reports of sexual harassment and assault, exposing just how pervasive this problem is for women in all sectors of society.
With all that has happened, it’s been hard for many women — and men — not to feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
And yet… there is an upside: women are rising.
In response to these attempts to diminish our power and silence our voices, women are harnessing their outrage. They are more engaged, energized and resolute than ever. Issues that were long ignored are finally coming to the surface, and women are beginning to speak up and use their voices and influence to demand real change.
As New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, founder of Off the Sidelines, put it to me: “One of the only silver linings of the Trump presidency is that more and more women are feeling emboldened to raise their voices and fight for the issues that matter most to them, from sexual harassment in the workplace to paid leave. We saw that with the Women’s March, and we saw it again on Election Day last month, when women all over the country got off the sidelines, ran for office, and won.” (Editor’s note: the author’s daughter has interned for the senator.)
This fire now burning in women explains why, even after such a rough year, we have reason to hope. I’d like to offer these reasons to be optimistic about what 2018 has in store — to remind us that we are living in a watershed moment in our history, one we can broaden and deepen. A transformative moment.