When Representative Bela Abzug introduced the bill designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day in 1971 the emphasis was on equal opportunities for women in employment, education, childcare – and the focus was on women in the U.S. In the four decades since the first Women’s Equality Day many American women have made progress – for many women the struggle continues.
A quick search locates an array of resource materials on the topic and on the day itself. One of the most robust is http://creativefolk.com/equalityday.html, a commercial site on which sponsored have gathered a wide range of relevant materials, music, books, videos and links to key players.
To an extent, the movement for women’s equity has expanded its focus to reflect and incorporate more global concerns. These data from US Aid express the urgency of embracing the needs of all women in the movement:
Around the world 62 million girls are not in school. Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. In the developing world, 1 in 7 girls is married before her 15th birthday, with some child brides as young as 8 or 9. Each year more than 287,000 women, 99 percent of them in developing countries, die from pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications.
While women make up more than 40 percent of the agriculture labor force only 3 to 20 percent are landholders. In Africa, women-owned enterprises make up as little as 10 percent of all businesses. In South Asia, that number is only 3 percent. And despite representing half the global population, women compromise less than 20 percent of the world’s legislators.
Putting women and girls on equal footing with men and boys has the power to transform every sector in which we work. (https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment)
It is with this perspective that women will gather on August 26 to commemorate the significance of the day and the movement.
Minnesota activists, representing ERAMN, will be marching in Washington, DC in support of ratification of the ERA. The four-mile march will be capped with a press conference and rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. (http://www.eramn.org/home/press-release-minnesota-activists-join-era-march-in-dc-on-womens-equality-day)
Closer to home, the Minnesota Women’s Consortium will host a Women’s Equality Day gathering from 4:00-5:30 in the Women’s Suffrage Memorial Garden on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol. Theme of the event is “Pivoting Towards Equity: A Women’s Equality Day Conversation.” State Senator Sandy Pappas, State Representative Rena Mora and Sia Her, ED of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans will discuss how to incorporate ideas of equity into the movement for women’s equality. [NOTE: The thoughtful presentation will be topped off with complimentary ice cream sundaes, courtesy of “feminist-friendly” local business Dar’s Double Scoop — a destination landmark on North Rice Street in St. Paul.]
Members of the National Organization of Women (http://www.mnnow.org) and guests will be celebrating with a Women’s Equality Day happy hour, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Honey, 205 East Hennepin in Minneapolis.
If you can’t participate in any of these public events, take time to reflect on the words and thoughts of some noted women writers, selected for just this occasion by the editors of Mental Floss – a little of everyone, from Erica Jong to Pearl Buck to Erma Bomback (http://mentalfloss.com/article/52360/celebrating-womens-equality-day-quotes-13-influential-women-writers-sponsored)