“I belong to the generation that came of age in the days before Roe vs. Wade,” writes Marina v.N. Whitman, “[my 15-year-old granddaughter] Lindsey and her friends have never heard of it.” But the war on women continues, Whitman points out in an October 4 Detroit Free Press op-ed, “Women’s rights: Will the struggle be forgotten?”
Whitman writes about hate mail sent to the new Miss America when the public learned of her internship with the education division of Planned Parenthood; threats against Emma Watson, the actress and United Nations goodwill ambassador, for her speech at UN headquarters condemning gender discrimination; threats of rape, and sometimes rape, against a long list of women around the world for their public advocacy for gender equality; the NFL commissioner’s insufficient two-day suspension of Ray Rice for punching his finance; and the fact that the University of Michigan’s new president, Mark Schlissel, needed to publicly emphasize the fact that rape is still a crime, even if the victim was drunk at the time.
“There are many gaps between generations in information or perspective,” writes Whitman. “But this generation gap is a particularly threatening one. It is the job of the older generation to impress on the young that, to quote Edmund Burke, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (or, in this case, women) do nothing.’”
Marina v.N. Whitman is a professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a business administration professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.