But if it's blatant we need, the world is happy to oblige. Our Great Cause could be absolute zero tolerance for violence against women (refusing a marriage proposal shouldn't be grounds for having acid thrown in your face, and, honestly, what part of "restraining order" do people not get?). Or an end to international slave trafficking for the sex trade. Or equal rights to an education for girls in every country around the globe. Not to mention solutions to the nuclear arms race, global warming, genocide, and all the other challenges that are ours because they're everybody's.
Women of my generation often say they wish younger women knew what we went through back in the day, when we were fighting so hard for our rights. But if you ask me, we had a great time. There's nothing more wonderful than being out with your comrades, protesting something that is clearly, patently, obviously wrong, or agitating for something that is clearly, patently, obviously right. You have solidarity and self-satisfaction and the knowledge that history is on your side, all wrapped up in one package. And the people who are out there with you will probably be your friends for life—no matter how streaky your non-self-cleaning windows may get.
Gail Collins is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. Her latest book, When Everything Changed (Little, Brown), charts the history of American women over the past 50 years.
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