One hundred-two years ago today, (white) women were finally granted the Constitutional right to vote. We now honor this as Women’s Equality Day to commemorate a milestone that catalyzed decades of progress for women. However, it’s disingenuous to celebrate this momentous occasion as equality becomes increasingly more elusive for women as those in power continue to dismantle our rights – in real-time.
Women today are less equal than they were 50 years ago. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn half a century of precedent robbed women of our basic right to bodily autonomy, while men still enjoy complete control over their health. The Equal Rights Amendment, which would officially grant women equal rights in the eyes of the law, still languishes in governmental limbo waiting for the National Archivist to certify and publish it. Women are in arguably worse economic shape than we were decades ago after the pandemic forced millions out of the workforce, combined with a widening wage gap, an immeasurable number of hours of unpaid labor at home, and an unstable economy. For women of color – who were largely excluded from the 19th amendment until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – equality is becoming an increasingly distant goal because of unchecked systemic racism within the institutions that claim to protect them.
While we have little reason to celebrate Women’s Equality Day today, there’s no reason why it can’t be a joyous occasion in the years to come. The solutions are there, but we need the right leaders with the courage to push them forward and activists like you to hold them accountable.
The 19th Amendment wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the women who fought and sacrificed to ensure their granddaughters had the same rights as their grandsons. So, what’s it going to take? It’s going to take us.
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.
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