Celebrate Women’s Equality Day
August 24, 2017
This Saturday, August 26, marks the 46th celebration of Women’s Equality Day! Women’s Equality Day was first designated in 1971 at the urging of New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug. as a way to commemorate the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
The 19th Amendment guarantees women the right to vote by denying the ability of the states and federal government to restrict voting rights on the basis of sex. Observance of Women’s Equality Day helps to celebrate this monumental achievement to which GFWC was so integrally tied. However, it also highlights the struggle beyond the vote, and continuing efforts towards full equality. This is a journey which the women of GFWC have, and continue to, contribute so much.
When President Richard Nixon issued Proclamation 4236, declaring the first Women’s Equality Day, he wrote that “The struggle for women’s suffrage… was only the first step toward full and equal participation of women in our Nation’s life. In recent years, we have made other giant strides by attacking sex discrimination through our laws and by paving new avenues to equal economic opportunity for women. Today, in virtually every sector of our society, women are making important contributions to the quality of American life. And yet, much still remains to be done.” The women of GFWC took this call to action to heart.
The women of GFWC marched, protested, and organized for our right to vote, and persisted in struggling for equality well beyond the suffrage movement. In 1923, GFWC became an outspoken advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, and remained so through the 1980s. The women of GFWC have championed women’s education since its founding and were essential contributors to the second wave of feminist movements in the mid-20th century.
Today, we continue to advocate for women’s equality through support of equal pay laws, through our volunteer work with women who have survived or are struggling to overcome abuse, and through empowering women to take an active role in their homes and their communities. GFWC will always support and fight for the equal rights of women. Please take time to reflect upon those women who have fought for your rights, and we hope you will continue their legacy. Happy Women’s Equality Day!
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For more than two decades, Cindy Rasmussen has been an active member of the GFWC Salem Woman's Service Club.
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