Wednesday, August 31, 2011

women’s equality day

Women’s Equality Day is a day proclaimed each year by the President of the United States to celebrate the adoption of the 19th Amendment, which on August 26th, 1920 gave women in the US the right to vote. It is a day to celebrate the achievements of suffragists and allies throughout history who fought for, and are still fighting for, gender equality in this country. ywca clark county didn’t wasted any time in recognizing this important day and organized a league of women’s voter branch in 1920. 91 years later, ywca continues to work toward empowering women and supporting equal rights. The Women’s Economic Justice (WEJ) Work Group, a subcommittee of the ywca Public Policy Committee is committed to discussing and taking a stand on issues related to women’s economic justice with programming, written appeals, and community partnerships. The following interview with Susan Lalone, Public Policy Committee Member tells a bit more about the 19th amendment and why it’s so important.

How long had the 19th Amendment been in the making?

Beginning in 1848, at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York, the struggle for women’s right to vote nationwide officially began. In 1869 prominent activists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton stood in opposition to the 15th Amendment giving African American men the right to vote, as it did not give equal rights to women. Finally in 1920, the 19th Amendment was adopted which prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex.

How long has Women’s Equality Day been celebrated?

In 1971 U.S. Representative Bella Abzug introduced a resolution into Congress making August 26th Women’s Equality Day. Since then, every President has reinforced this with a Presidential Proclamation.

Is Women’s Equality Day strictly about voting rights?

The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.

How does ywca clark county celebrate Women’s Equality Day?

This year on August 26th, ywca clark county sponsored an open forum featuring three local women prominent in Clark County’s political and social arenas. The panel of speakers included Dena Horton, ywca Board Member and local citizen advocate, Tanisha  Harris, Secretary of the 17th Legislative District of the Democratic Party and Jeanne Harris, Vancouver City Council Member. Topics discussed included:

  • Women in Washington State & Federal political leadership
  • Barriers to women in politics
  • Suggestions for increasing women’s representation in government
  • Feminism, horizontal hostility and other factors affecting politics for women

In addition to the panelists, Kimberly Pincheira, a staff member from Senator Maria Cantwell’s office, presented a letter written by the Senator. In her letter, Senator Cantwell reminds us that the struggle for equality is not over.

“Women’s political power has never been a sure thing. Our gains have been built on the back-breaking labor of the generations who came before us to carve out a just and equitable position in society. Today I encourage everyone to remember those pioneers whose bravery and determination in the face of ignorance made it possible for young girls to find role models in the highest chambers of our country’s political system.”

How can you help?

Though the scales of justice are more balanced than they have ever been for women, the fact remains that only 17 percent of national legislative seats are held by women. The struggle is not over and your help is needed to create a more just society.

You can make a difference by becoming involved.

Vote. It is your right and responsibility.
Educate yourself about issues facing women, minorities, and other marginalized communities.
Become involved with ywca clark county and start making a difference in your community. For more information visit

No comments:

Post a Comment