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By Nicole Doak


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FRAMINGHAM – March is Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the often-overlooked contributions of women throughout the history of our country. 

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the first Women’s History Week. It took Congress seven years to pass a law proclaiming March Women’s History Month.

President Carter also called for the Equal Rights Amendment to be passed. The amendment seeks to ensure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply equally regardless of sex. 

The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed by suffragette leader Alice Paul in 1923. Congress passed the amendment on March 22, 1972 and sent it to the states for ratification. As of 2023, the Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be enacted.

As rights once guaranteed to women are being rolled back across the country, cities across Massachusetts are adopting ordinances that affirm women’s bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. Municipalities have the power to affirm those rights.

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Here in Framingham, women had to beg and settle for a non-binding proclamation that states, Framingham believes *in theory* that women have the same right to make the same decisions regarding their own body as the Mayor and majority of the City Council freely enjoy. It was a Herculean effort to secure a non-binding, *theoretical* proclamation – the same type of proclamation City Council effortly passed recognizing the Greater Framingham Community Church. Framingham isn’t comfortable passing an ordinance that upholds a woman’s right to her own body, but recognizes a woman’s right to her own body as they would recognize a church. But it’s strictly a Constitutional issue, we’ve been assured.

Women in Framingham had to fight so hard for so much less than for what we asked and deserve. But we couldn’t even enjoy that victory. It was overshadowed by one man’s callous remarks that were in no way a representation of what we wanted. The remarks were a reflection of outdated, hurtful stereotypes of both women and the disabled community that had no place in the conversation. 

City Councilors who remained silent instead of supporting women were quick to condemn the remarks. They are able to use their voices for selective injustices. Remember, when a candidate, Mayor Sisitsky held a “Women for Charlie” brunch at his house. However dubious supporting women issues may be, our support remains acceptable. 

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The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

Women in Framingham have spent the last six months and more telling our stories, and we will continue, whether we’re listened to or not, shrill, angry voices and all.

Same as it ever was.

Nicole Doak is a Framingham resident.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.