Written by Adrianna LoChirco
Less than 100 years ago, women didn’t have the right to vote in the United States. On August 26th, 1920, the 19th amendment was passed, granting women the right to vote. Women’s Equality Day is celebrated each year on this day to celebrate the opportunity women fought to have. The women’s suffragist movement was successful because a group of passionate women (and men) banded together to initiate change. For the suffragists, change didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took decades. What we consider to be basic rights today, such as the right to vote and own property, are the result of the hard work and determination of this group fighting for equality among all citizens.
Women have come a long way and will continue to fight until all voices are heard.
Women make up roughly 51 percent of the population but only 20 percent of Congress. Less than 22 percent of city mayors are women. We have yet to have a female commander in chief. On the flip side, more female candidates are running for office (and winning primaries) than ever before, coupled with the fact that women are also the majority of voters in this country. The percentage of eligible female voters who voted has been higher than the percentage of men in every presidential election since 1980, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.
This is vital at a time when there is still a gender pay gap that widens for minorities. There still is not mandatory paid parental leave. The number of women leading Fortune 500 companies dropped by roughly 25 percent since last year. More women are needed in leadership positions to have decision-making power. Equality is not a female issue; it’s a social and economic imperative. In fact, up to $28 trillion could be added to the global GDP if full gender equality is achieved by 2025, the McKinsey Global Institute reports.
It is everyone’s responsibility to drive change. Become educated on political issues. Get to the voting booths. Run for office if compelled to do so. On Women’s Equality Day and every day, rewrite the rules that are no longer working and create new ones together.