Did You Celebrate Women's Equality Day?

BlogHer Original Post

Yesterday, August 26, was Women's Equality Day. (It also was my non-blogging friend's birthday, so a big shout out to Dr. P, who probably spent the day operating, as she is a surgeon. Which is a good way, I think, to celebrate women's equality, but as usual I digress.) RosieRed23 at Spare Candy explains that:

...the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was signed into law on Aug. 26, 1920. That's seventy-two years after the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Women’s Equality Day was established in 1971, by Bella Abzug, to commemorate the event.... It's hard to comprehend that my great-grandmother was born before women had the right to vote. I cannot imagine it. (My grandmother was born just a couple years after the 19th Amendment became law.) A salute to all the women who've brought us where we are today. As much as we talk about our continued fight for equality, we certainly should be thankful for all the progress made so far in this country -- and remember how much further so many women across the world still have to go.

Certainly, female suffrage is a very good thing to celebrate. As RosieRed23 pointed out, there are a lot of women around the world who don't have this important right to make their voices heard and interests represented. She has a nice list of activities that took place yesterday to change that situation.

Jocelyn at Women's Campaign International noted that:

In honor of the celebration, the White House unveiled their website for the Council on Women and Girls. Created on March 11 by President Obama, the Council’s aim is to “to ensure that each of the agencies in which they’re charged takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create, the legislation they support.”

The President also released a Proclamation today, declaring that, “the fight for women’s equality is not a woman’s agenda, but an American agenda…We stand at a moment of unparalleled change and a time for reflection and hope. We cannot allow the vibrant energy and passionate commitment of our trailblazing women to fade, and we can never forget the responsibility we bear to the ideals of liberty and equality for all. Each generation of successful women serves as a catalyst to empower, enlighten, and educate the next generation of girls and boys, and we must devote ourselves to promoting this catalyst for change now and in the future.”

Despite all of the internet and political hoopla around the day, Feminist in the City nearly missed it:

I completely forgot about today's significance until I got an email from my sister at work wishing me a Happy Women's Equality Day! I got so busy at work that it slipped my mind until now... So thank you suffragists for working so hard to guarantee my right to vote. Thanks to your tireless efforts in ensuring the passing of the 19th Amendment, women like me and those across the country have exercised our right to vote for nearly 90 years and this year I cashed in my vote for the first woman candidate for President - Mrs. Hillary Clinton. That is a moment I will never forget.

Many of the women blogging about Women's Equality Day recommended viewing the 2004 HBO film about the suffragette movement, Iron Jawed Angels, starring Hilary Swank. I happened to be on a treadmill at the gym one day, and it was playing on TV. I only caught the end of it, but I was overcome by how powerful it was. (Sadly, the TV next to it was showing, "Flavor of Love." As women clawed at each other literally and metaphorically, I could not help but wonder if what these suffragettes would think. Did they really get arrested, go on hunger strikes and be force-fed, be harassed by their neighbors and families only so that women could fight over a sleazy guy on TV? Equality gone wrong, I think.) Even with the distraction, I bawled my eyes out and nearly fell off my treadmill.

Personally, I celebrated Women's Equality Day by giving myself a break. I'm always worked up about the horrible public policies that people want both at home and abroad. Plus, I've been upset that I can't find a job, and stressed out about my current living situation (my apartment was renovated, which is good, but it generated a mess that is insane). And I have a cold, and am worried about started school next week while I'm sick. So yesterday I gave myself permission to take a deep breath. I went to a friend's family's house on the beach, spent the day relaxing with my friends, and thinking about things that are going well. Flat out, this is a luxury that most women (or working people in general) don't get. I hope that as we push forward for human rights and social justice, which is a huge part of what women's equality is to me, it will afford more women the chance to celebrate their accomplishments and give themselves the breaks they deserve, too.

How do you feel about Women's Equality Day and did you do anything to celebrate?

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants. Her first book, Off the Beaten (Subway) Track, is about unusual things to see and do in NYC.

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