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Does Alaska lead in women's rights?

Posted: March 8, 2013 - 1:43pm

Vic Fischer, 88, is an Alaska treasure.

Editor Lori Evans quoted from John Pugh, a longtime Fischer friend, "Fischer likes to share his experiences and achievements...for civic purposes so you will look at his life and know you can do that too." (Homer News, Feb. 28) Fischer's book, "To Russia with Love" describes living a life of excitement and upholding the principles of rights and freedom.

In the Constitutional Convention, Vic tried to insert "sex" into Section 3, Article 1 of the Alaska Constitution, that read in 1955, "No person is to be denied the enjoyment of any civil or political right because of race, color, creed or national origin." He was not successful.

In early 1970, in response to surveys by Jan Erickson and Helen Nienhouser in Anchorage, Alaska legislators passed a law to legalize abortion. In late 1970, I started the Anchorage Women's Liberation Group which promoted adding "sex" to the list in Article 1, Section 3. The legislators and the public voted for the Equal Rights Amendment for Alaska and for the U.S. Constitution. Alaska was ahead of the nation.

You are invited to watch an inspiring film on Thursday evening or Friday morning at the college. "Half the Sky" features people like Vic who "do something important so we can imagine we can do something important." The film is narrated by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, New York Times reporters. They show stories about people who promote education for girls and opportunities for women to obtain health care and protection against violence, child marriages and female genital mutilation.

They conclude, "The tide of history is turning women from beasts of burden and sexual playthings into full-fledged human beings." Is Alaska still ahead of the U.S. and the world?

Amy Bollenbach

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