Originally published on Mic and republished here with their permission.
“We’re gathered to celebrate Women’s History Month, but I don’t celebrate Women’s History Month,” announced writer Mona Charen, one of the panelists at the Heritage Foundation’s recent panel on feminism and happiness.
“It doesn’t interest me whether a person who happens to share my chromosomes sits in the Oval Office. It doesn’t interest me how many women members of the Senate there are.”
No, Charen continued, one of the things that interests her the most about Women’s History Month is how “feminism has done so much damage to happiness.”
It was a bold statement, and one that set the tone for the conservative foundation’s panel discussion among a group of conservative writers and academics addressing an audience of mostly male interns.
During the meeting, the attendees waxed poetic about the failures of the “project” known as feminism, spending hours decrying the perceived failures of the women’s movement in America.
But that’s simply not true.
It may seem like a bizarrely obvious statement, but somewhere between earning women the right to vote, pushing through legislation opening up universities to female students and advancing the civil rights movement (to name just a very few examples), feminism has indeed made life much, much better (and as a result, happier) – not just for American women, but American men as well.
Far removed from the stereotypical and inaccurate image of the bra-burning activist, feminists have proven time and time again that women’s rights are human rights. And as the Declaration of Independence so elegantly points out, the ideals of life and liberty are intrinsically tied up with that third pursuit: happiness.
Yes, feminism has changed the world. And yes, it has made people happier. To argue otherwise, as the Heritage Foundation panelists attempted to do in Washington, is to show blatant disregard (or willful ignorance) for the historical record.
It is also an argument that insults the legacies of centuries of badass feminists who have bravely fought, failed, and ultimately prevailed in the ongoing struggle to empower the marginalized and elevate the disenfranchised.
A comprehensive list of these achievements would be far too long, but here we’ve compiled a pocket edition, just in case you ever run across someone who honestly believes feminism has made the world an unhappier place.