Did you ever get that sinking feeling there was just something wrong? Wrong in the sense that what you used believe in just didn’t seem worth it anymore somehow or make sense?
That is how I was beginning to feel about women’s rights. Maybe that might be rhetorical to some, but it is simple just the fact that many women are feeling society today.
Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, and Conservative: all words women label themselves as. Could there any more reasons why the women’s movement just felt like it falling apart to some of us? That gap is just getting bigger and bigger. Sexism just getting more and more acceptable by the media, men taking total advantage of the divide between women of different political leanings. Stalling and even setting back any progress that the women’s movement had worked so hard to towards over the years.
I just felt lost.
Then a funny thing happened. I am cooking dinner in the mad dash that many working moms conduct on a daily bases and listening to the constant coverage of the Palin/Letterman battle. A single word nearly slapped me across the face. In between the drone of the pundit’s voice, I hear the word “Non-Partisan” in a female voice. Now over the months we have all heard this word and come to expect it. But this time it is being referenced to a feminist organization. I needed to know more. So I ordered the family a pizza and proceeded to watch an interview with co-founder of The New Agenda, Amy Siskind.
She spoke with such sincerity about the issues that are driving a wedge through the women’s movement and how to unity to resolve it. In disbelief and a renewed sense of excitement for the possibilities I had to hear directly from her what The New Agenda is about and how it came to be.
Here is that conversation …
Interviewer: Tell me, how did you get into Feminist activism?
Amy: Well, I worked on Wall Street for twenty years and in 2006, I took time off to spend time to my kids and my community. At that point, I got involved with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, volunteering during her run for Senate. Hillary was actually my inspiration to get involved in anything political. It was the first time I related to a candidate.
Watching the way that Hillary Clinton and then Sarah Palin got treated during the Presidential campaign was a real eye opener for me. Many women in the country felt that same. We felt we should do something about the sexism that happened in this past election
Interviewer: Was there anything in your personal life that motivated you to create The New Agenda?
Amy: There was an incident about a year ago when my daughter was in the fifth grade. I had picked her and one of her friends up from school one day. Her friend was crying. I had asked her what had happened. So she tells me she had broken up with a boy the day before, and that day she got to school a group of boys had cornered her and started calling her “slut’, “b*tch”, “whore.” I was so upset about it. I also volunteer for a domestic abuse shelter, so I called them and asked them about the situation. They told me, “Yes, this is escalating the early precursors of domestic violence; it is happening at a younger and younger ages the incident you described would be a gang rape in High school.” So a lot of it for me was seeing “wow, we have come a long way”, but think we have stalled and in some ways we are moving backwards. There are some really alarming trends in this country that are not getting enough attention. All of that affected me personally and lead to the decision to start The New Agenda last August.
Interviewer: So can you tell the people who might be reading this a little bit about your organization The New Agenda? What is your mission and how are you going about accomplish that mission?
Amy: What we have started is revolutionary. We thought how can we get women in this country to have better representation? How can we have real power in this country when women allow themselves to be split in half by political party, and split in half again by the issue of choice. It simply doesn’t work. So we decided to take those two issues off the table and focus on the issues that impact all women. Safety. Opportunity. Unity. Leadership.
Interviewer: A little off-topic but you have written three articles about the sexism against Conservative women. And a gentleman out in California made to get it published in a local paper, I believe.
Amy: Yes, he wanted to publish my Huffington Post piece, “Sexism Against Conservative Women is Still Sexism” in Variety and they turned him down. He was a conservative dad from Hollywood, California. He was concerned about his daughter, and the way that Hollywood content shows women and young girls. So he tried to run a two-page article in Variety and they just wouldn’t run it. So he paid to have it put in the Hollywood Reporter, which is I think the second biggest entertainment paper in Hollywood. That is a great example of dads being concerned about women’s issues. Which is another aspect of our organization by being all inclusive to men as well as women.
Interviewer: How important is it to the feminist movement that we heal this gap between the Right and the Left? And where do you see the women’s rights movement in general going in this country in the future?
Amy: I think our best and only hope for advancement is unity. And I am going to keep preaching that until I am blue in the face. Women in this country need to lay down their arms and learn to work together. There are also plenty of men that will join us in this way forward. Our best chance is to send out a positive message to preach and follow unity.
Our goals are clear—Safety, Opportunity, Unity and Leadership.
Interviewer: I just to thank you Amy for taking the time to do this interview.
Amy: My pleasure.
If you wish to support The New Agenda or just want to see them in action got to: http://thenewagenda.net