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Happy Women’s Equality Day!

August 26, 2010

Happy Women’s Equality Day! 

Yes, Women’s Equality Day

What do you mean, you’ve never heard of it?  It’s celebrated every August 26th, since 1971.  This year, it marks the 90th anniversary of women’s right to vote, the culmination of a political and social struggle that lasted 72 years.  In 1970, on the 50th anniversary of the 19th amendment, NOW organized a massive Women’s Strike for Equality in 40 cities, with millions of women demanding equality.  The goals were considered radical then… and still are:

  1. Repeal of anti-abortion laws
  2. Establishment of 24-7 child care centers
  3. Equal opportunity in jobs and education

Roe repealed anti-abortion laws, but between the leeway left for regulation and the virulent anti-choice movement we now have 43 states with parental notice or consent laws on the books, and 32 states with mandatory delays or biased counseling laws on the books – and just 7 states which have codified the principles of Roe

As for 2 and 3: 

Quality child care still isn’t affordable for most people who need it, and I can personally attest to the fact that many people believe it is an inferior option that is only ever used by people who absolutely must work outside the home in order to make ends meet.  The idea of someone wanting to use child care and being happy with their option is usually regarded with surprise, if you’re lucky. 

We no longer have separate want ads for women and men, so that’s an improvement, and the biggest class action suit ever happens to be about sex discrimination against women in WalMart – and is still unresolved, thanks to endless appeals by WalMart.  On the other hand, these days more women than men graduate college.

In honor of Women’s Equality Day, I present a mini list of links for your reading pleasure.

Highlights of the suffrage movement.

Ms. Magazine remembers the Women’s Strike for Equality.

A reality check for women today.  

And, also from Ms., a happier depiction of how far we have come.

The Sewell-Belmont House Digital Collection.  The Sewell-Belmont House is a museum in Washington, DC, and the historic home of suffragist Alice  Paul who authored the Equal Rights Amendment.  Their Digital Collection includes all kinds of artifacts from the suffrage movement, and more.

And finally, a quiz about women’s equality in the U.S., brought to you by the National Women’s History Project.

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