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Live Every Day Like It’s Women’s Equality Day

August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, marking 98 years since the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

The path to suffrage – a woman’s right to vote – was not easy. Similar to modern movements like the 2017 Women’s March and #MeToo, the amendment passed after tenacious women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton courageously stood up against the inequality they experienced.

Susan B. Anthony joined the fledgling women’s movement in 1852 and dedicated her life to not only suffrage, but also the abolition of slavery. She was instrumental in persuading the University of Rochester to admit its first woman in 1900.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton spoke at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 about women’s rights, which some consider the beginning of the gender equality movement. In her speech, she declared:

We are assembled to protest against a form of government existing without the consent of the governed—to declare our right to be free as man is free, to be represented in the government which we are taxed to support, to have such disgraceful laws as give man the power to chastise and imprison his wife, to take the wages which she earns, the property which she inherits, and, in case of separation, the children of her love; laws which make her the mere dependent on his bounty.

Both women died before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, but their perseverance laid the groundwork for the rights women have gained in the years since – for example, to serve on a jury, to work in jobs previously restricted to men, and to use contraception.

It may seem impossible to imagine that women did not have basic rights such as these, but take a look around you. Despite extraordinary progress over the last 100 years, women still face inequality every day.

In the United States:

At the global level, gender inequality extends beyond differences in economic opportunities; there is also significant disparity among fundamental needs such as safety, education, and health.

Globally:

As long as gender disparity like this remains, there will be a need for courageous women – and men – to use their voices to change the status quo.

Who is the next Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton among you who will make a difference?

Learn more about Women’s Equality Day. If you want to support gender equality, please consider a donation to the Forté Foundation to help change the status quo.

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