Mrs. America on FX only hits the tip of iceberg in its’s dramatization of the National Women’s conference. Being the first to be federally funded, In 1977, as part of International Women’s Day, approximately 20,000 women congregated in Houston presided over by New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug. In an effort to promote equality between men and women, a series of eye-opening and impassioned debates sought to achieve resolutions on major topics, ranging from domestic violence, employment and reproductive rights to the specific experiences of lesbians and women of color and the ultimately unsuccessful Equal Rights Amendment.
2,000of the women were delegates elected by their states and territories and worked to adopt a national plan of acton that would be presented to the President of the United States and Congress. The Plan, a list o f 26 resolutions, would promote equal rights and end discrimination against women. News coverage captured the drama that would unfold during four days.
Sisters of ’77 Filmmakers Cynthia Salzman Mondell and Allen Mondell combine incredible archival footage and insightful interviews with attendees to present an inside look at the historic event that defined the guiding principles of gender equality in politics today. The biggest problem is unlike toady, when couldn’t get on the same page. The conservative women didn’t know or understand what women’s rights were. The sentiment was echoed by Ron Stone, a former tv anchor covering the event. “We didn’t care too much about what “she” thought…that’s just the way the world was.”
These women requested the the Equal Rights Amendment include rights for women to run for office, play baseball, get equal pay, reproductive rights, Lesbian rights. How ironic is it that the Supreme Court, just this past week, passed an addendum to the Civl Rights Act extending rights to LGBTQ and women. Groundbreaking at best. But in 1977, the female ethnic voices were being segregated the same way they were being segregated by society. At the end of the day, it was all resolved because women can discuss differences and find commonalities. How I wish our men in politics could do the same.
This film was a fascinating history lesson of an important chapter of American history. A chapter that proves that the legacy of female revolution of women can’t be pushed back. At the end of the day like Gloria Steinem said, “You can’t create change unless you have the imagination to change.”