Editorial: Reason to celebrate

While themed months can sometimes become tiresome or overkill, they can be useful as a prompt for discussion.
March is Women’s History Month. Equality and respect for women can often be a hot topic. Feminism can evoke eye-rolling, especially when it is perceived to be taken to extremes. Men and women are different — there is no arguing with biology.
However, we can be different and still equal. Women today may not face the same obstacles that held back those of previous generations, yet there are still inequalities. Salaries are evidence of that. According to the American Association of University Women, as of 2013, year-round, full-time female employees made 78% of what their male counterparts earned — and this hasn’t changed in a decade.
And it goes beyond salary — women in leadership positions can often be judged by a different standard than their male counterparts. Aggressive behavior by female leaders is sometimes considered controlling or catty versus commanding and strong. When women hold back they may be criticized as weak while men might be considered thoughtful. And let’s not even begin to get into the ways men and women are judged by appearance — looks, weight and age are constant targets for women on both the small and global level. Not that it never happens to men — but it happens to women a lot more.
Despite all this, here in Wilton is a great reason for women and girls of all ages to celebrate. The young women who make up Wilton High School’s basketball team will play for the state championship at Mohegan Sun this weekend.
After a near-perfect regular season, the girls were favored to win the FCIAC championship but they lost a stunner to Ridgefield. That was a tough pill to swallow, but the girls took it like women and have come back even stronger to be the first team in their program’s history to not only make it to the final four but the finals in the state tournament.
Win or lose this weekend, they have much to celebrate.
It’s worth asking, though, would they be here without Title IX, the 1972 federal law that banned sex discrimination in public education, and had a notable effect in the area of high school and college athletics?
It’s hard to know the answer, but we can still celebrate their achievement this month as well as the achievements of all the women we know and admire for reasons large and small.