One of Megan Smith’s, White House chief technology officer, recent actions has gained national news coverage: the launching of a nationwide search for the “Declaration of Sentiments”.
The Declaration of Sentiments is the document signed in 1984 after the first women’s rights convention, the Seneca Falls Convention. The document, which can be found here, is worded much like the Constitution, but instead of outlining the rights of “man” it outlines the rights of women. At the time, the document was very controversial since it insisted on a new type of government, one that respected the God-ordered equality of man and woman.
Reaction to the national search for this historic document has been mixed, since it is not technically a government document. But Smith explains, “There’s nothing malicious here. This is simply a lack of consciousness. For most Americans, if you asked them what the Declaration of Sentiments is, they would have no idea what you’re talking about.” Her comments highlight an important point. Although polls show that 91 percent of Americans consider the Constitution important to them, many would not even know what the Declaration of Sentiments is. Hopefully, attention drawn by the new search for the document will encourage people to learn about the revolutionary declaration.
After reading the document, it is also clear that we have not progressed to the level of equality that the Seneca Falls Convection participants desired, and as I am sure many women desire today too. As explained in the Washington Post, “The political debate over equal pay for women continues to rage” even though the over 30-year-old document called for it. Moreover, the Declaration’s description of mankind as, “a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man toward woman” still rings true today. For example, Cowboy’s defensive end, Greg Hardy, suspension for domestic violence has recently come to an end, simply because the alleged victim did not show up to court. Hardy’s latest sexist comments concerning model Gisele Bundchen reinforce that Hardy may have been “let off easy” with a 4 game suspension for such serious charges.
As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, the lack of equality and respect given to women prove that awareness should continue past just this month.
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