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The Long Road to Equality

The death last week of Helen Gurley Brown seemed like a good milestone to reflect on the advancements made by the women's movement that she helped champion throughout her life. But two national incidents since the former Cosmopolitan editor's passing reveal how much progress still needs to be made.

The first occurred this past weekend, when U.S. Representative and Senate candidate Todd Akin told a television interviewer that it’s impossible for women to get pregnant from what he called, "legitimate rape." Akin's absurd explanation infers that rape victims can only get pregnant if they enjoy it, meaning that the crime could not be a "legitimate rape." The Missouri Republican has so far ignored calls from leaders of both political parties to give up his Senate race.

Second, earlier this week, famed golf club Augusta National announced it was admitting two female members for the first time in its 80-year history. The news might be exciting were it not so embarrassingly late. Augusta hosts the Masters, one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world, and its board has resisted pressure to admit women for decades. Augusta's leaders – who had defended their male-only membership policy as if they were defending democracy itself – couldn't help sounding insincere when announcing this "joyous occasion."

Helen Gurley Brown's death is indeed a landmark along the road of the women's movement. And a look around shows that the road is still a long one.
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