Six Ways to Honor Women’s Equality Day

Today is Women’s Equality Day marking the ninetieth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It’s not an easy day to honor. Do we celebrate the tremendous work of the suffragettes who fought long and hard for women? Or do we note the irony of an equality day when women still earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; bang their heads against a glass ceiling; still do the majority of housework and haven’t reached critical mass in Washington?

I say we mark the day by taking action. If we exercise our power as women, we both honor the women who came before us and help advance those who will come after us. Here are six suggestions for celebrating Women’s Equality Day.

1. Vote. The suffragettes fought a long, hard battle in order for women to have the right to vote.  If you aren’t already registered, register to vote today, read up on the issues and cast a ballot in the midterm elections. Women are 51 percent of the population and we do make a difference on election day.

2. Run. Better yet, why not run for office? Ladies, it’s great to help candidates and cast a vote. But we are so much more powerful than just phone bankers and sign holders. We need a critical mass of women in elected positions both locally and nationally if we want equal representation. Visit She Should Run, Emerge and The White House Project to learn about campaigning.

3. Speak. At a minimum, let your elected officials know what you expect of them. Call your Senators and tell them we need them to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Healthy Families Act. Tell the White House it’s time to ratify CEDAW, The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Equal Rights Amendment. We’ve waited long enough.

4. Teach. Tell your children about suffragettes like Helen Gardener, Ida Husted Harper and Marjorie Shuler who aren’t in the text books, but should be. These women changed the course of history.

5. Thank the women who are fighting for equality today. Make sure they know their work is appreciated. My sincere thanks to so many women including Gloria Feldt and Jodi Jacobson who stand up for our reproductive rights; Zoe Nicholson who never stops fighting for equality; Marie Wilson, Jehmu Green and Katie Orenstein who teach other women how to use their power; CV Harquail and The Mama Bee who inspire me by how hard they work; Lea Webb and Jill Miller Zimon, who are modeling a new ideal for public servants; @rosiered23 and Cynthia Samuels for giving women a place to read, write and learn.

6. Notice the women who are quietly making a difference in your life (the coworker who negotiated maternity leave, the sole woman on the city council, the boss who stuck her neck out for you) and honor their work by following their lead.

Enjoy the day and feel free to leave a comment with the names of other women we should thank.

8 comments for “Six Ways to Honor Women’s Equality Day

  1. Jen
    August 26, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Carrie Chapman Catt is a name often left off of the suffragette list. Her leadership was vital to the passing of the 19th Amendment.

  2. August 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Since 1982, I have never felt so encouraged about equality. I am certain that the new generation of Americans will simply expect equality to be integrated into their lives. One day Women’s Equality Day will seem simply historic and not a bell ringing for a call to action. I am so lucky I believe in reincarnation – because I will see that happen no matter what!
    Thank you for including my name in this glorious salute to women and equality.
    Zoe

  3. Michelle
    August 27, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    One way we can honor women’s equality day is to STOP calling suffragists ‘suffragettes’. That term is a diminutive, and as such, was used historically to denigrate, insult and generally make those women and their cause negligible, which I think is something none of us want to continue or perpetuate.

    • August 27, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      Michelle,

      Thank you for the history lesson. I will note the difference moving forward. Suffragette was the term in England, correct?

  4. March 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Hi, very helpful website. I created a link to your site on my links page which you can visit here: http://www.pregnancymiraclez.net/my-favourite-sites/

    I think my visitors would love to come and read it too.

    Regards,
    Maria

  5. August 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    i thank Gloria to fight for women.we all support you for the you have done.THANKS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *