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Women's Issues

by Beverly J. Valtierra, Ph.D., LCSW

There are many issues that confront women today, some of these are the same as for women over the ages and some are very different.  We still struggle with discrimination, injustice, brutality, victimization, and a patriarchal society that allows some men to make the rules and define our roles.  Yes, we have made some progress but women still have less power and influence—therefore, we are less able to control large parts of our lives and in many ways we are defined by others. This is especially true for minority women.

As always, women are extremely concerned with family, friends, colleagues, and significant others---all relationships that are important to us.  We are concerned about our health and the health of others. And now, we are concerned about finding meaning and significance in who we are and what we do. We want our work to have value and we want to be rewarded for our efforts.  We live through many life transitions –single to married, and sometimes married to single, children leaving and parents dying. And since we live longer than any generation before, we are concerned over many years about our financial security and what will happen when we are old and infirmed.

We are pioneers, as women today, since we do not have many modern role models to give us inspiration and guidance.  We are forging our way, many times alone with no roadmaps. How do we know how to be women in relationships that are unsatisfying, or worse abusive, or how to be married women who find life rather frantic and unfulfilling, how to be women who are raising children alone, or career women with little outside support, older women who are alone, lesbian women who feel isolated and rejected by the much of society, and women who feel a need for something different from the traditional spiritual life offered by many churches? How do we deal with depression, low self-esteem, hatred of our bodies, and loneliness?  How do we find our unique, authentic self? How do we……………..?

One way women have dealt with problems and hardships in the past was by getting together as a group with other women to share, compare and gain support.  This is how they dealt with their loneliness, feelings of despair and hopelessness, and gained some inner strength to persevere. Today we can do the same—come together with others but not just to persevere but to gain strength and understanding (be empowered), find zest in life, get support, find solutions, and move ahead.

Some find working with an individual counselor, to be the path to self-fulfillment and renewed life.

Some find becoming a women’s advocate either politically, economically or in any arena where women’s voices need to be heard is their path to an enriched life.

Whatever path we take, we need to take some path not only for our own welfare but also for the welfare of other women and women of the future.