Recognizing Women’s Equality Day and the Ongoing Journey to Gender Equity

One hundred years ago, on August 26th, 1920, the 19th Amendment was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women’s legal right to vote. Today, this date is celebrated as Women’s Equality Day and it is an opportunity to reflect upon the progress we have made, as well as the work that remains. 

Shortly after the 19th Amendment was ratified, the Equal Rights Act was introduced to guarantee constitutional legal rights for all citizens regardless of sex. While this had the potential to be a powerful step forward, it has yet to be enacted as national law.

And, while the advent of birth control in the 1960s empowered millions of women to pursue career opportunities on the timeline of their choosing, today reproductive freedom is threatened daily, with low-income women baring the greatest burden when access to care is restricted.

In additional, although federal and state laws now prohibit wage discrimination based on sex, women are still paid less than men and the gap is incomprehensibly wider for women of color.

In 1972, Title IX banned gender discrimination in schools and opened the doors for millions of girls to play sports and girls’ athletic participation has exploded by more than 1,000% since the law’s passage! Even so, CWLC is regularly contacted by athletes, parents, and coaches who need our help enforcing Title IX compliance at their school so that girls have access to the full range of educational opportunities promised to them under the law.

And now, for people already living on the financial edge, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed and exacerbated the economic pressures and vulnerability of many women and their families, with safe and affordable housing becoming even more dire and unpredictable. 

This Women’s Equality Day, we celebrate the many milestones on our path toward equality while acknowledging the journey that lies ahead. CWLC honors the strong and purposeful women who persisted for more than a century to secure women’s suffrage, and we thank the many courageous and hard-working women who are working to make further change happen as soon as possible.