Celebrating Women’s Equality Day

The official program for the woman suffrage procession. Washington, D. C. March 3, 1913

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated annually on August 26, falling on Friday this year. Most would concur that it is not easy being a woman today or in the past. However, women have continued to fight and move forward. And with the most recent law changes on abortion, contraception and more, it is more vital than ever to honor and celebrate Women’s Equality Day. 

Women would not be where they are today had the brave women of years past not fought tooth and nail for equal rights. Vantage Circle summed it up quite poetically in their statement, “Today we get to see women representatives in the military, in space and as CEOs of Fortune companies. But they had to undergo many struggles to achieve equal rights. Feminism as a wave brought in multiple changes in women’s lives worldwide, but we can’t deny the suffragettes to have achieved where women stand today.” 

One of the most fundamental rights in a civil democratic county is the right to vote, however women were not granted the right to vote until the year 1920 as women represented themselves by raising their voices to obtain equal voting rights. Following the fight, the 19th Amendment was declared and gave rights to every United States citizen regardless of gender. 

“This revolutionary decision embarks on the significance of Women’s Equality Day in today’s world. It celebrates the achievements of women’s rights activists and reminds us of the daily struggles that women go through,” as noted by Vantage Circle. Women’s Equality Day is celebrated within the United States but the global platform Vantage Circle says, “we believe that every global workplace should mark this occasion to show their solidarity and support towards women.”

The history of Women’s Equality Day begins by looking back at the early 19th century. During this time women were not allowed to inherit property and did not receive the same pay as their male counterparts. These issues led to the women’s suffrage movement which is where women actively sought to have equality in both political rights and representation. 

Other countries including Finland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom had already given women voting rights in the 1900s. Soon this traveled to the United States but was met with failure. Later a turning point occurred after women participated in World War I as democratic fights took place in Europe as well as in America. 

“Constitutional amendments in the U.S. required two-third of the state’s approval. So, 36 of them ratified the 19th amendment before it could pass. The deciding vote was in the hand of the Tennessee legislature named Harry T. Burn. He was a young state representative and received a plea from his mother to support the amendment. His vote became the deciding factor and he switched his decision last minute,” as stated by Vantage Circle. 

And although this landmark decision gave women the power to vote, there is still a fight for equal rights today among the gender pay gap whereas it is still evident that there is gender discrimination, harassment in the workplace and more among many businesses. 

Women’s Equality Day became official in the year 1973 following a bill that was introduced two years earlier by Bella Abzug who served as a New York Representative. Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day to “remember the struggles of women in the past, present and future.” 

Vantage Circle provided ways to Celebrate Women’s Equality Day including the following. 

1. Introduce a mentoring program

Despite all the efforts women make, more men hold top-level positions. Until May 2018, Fortune 500 companies had only 24 female CEOs, comprising only 5% of the total posts.

Keeping this in mind, we believe guidance helps make a difference and encourages female workers to strive for success. All you need is a mentorship program where workers connect with their higher authorities and discuss career goals, networking, education and other scopes to success. Women should see other women as being mentors. It will make them feel more empowered about their abilities. Representation matters a lot!

Women’s involvement in leadership is essential for business growth in 2022. For that, it’s vital that great leaders support, empower and listen to the women in our workplaces.

2. Encourage girl power

It is high time, as a manager or a leader, you must think about uplifting the lives of young women in the community. This August, you can show your support for women’s rights by encouraging more and more opportunities for women. Here are some ways to promote girl power:

• Set up a women-specific internship program

• Invite middle school and high school girls for job shadowing/side-barging

• Vocalize STEM careers to a Girl Scout troop

• Offer a college scholarship to your best female employees who want to pursue higher studies.

Doing so helps enhance diversity and inclusion in your company—fostering workplace equity and enhanced company culture.

3. Aid a cause

In this post-modern world, women’s suffrage is limited to social media only, but many modern causes need compassionate supporters.

This Women’s Equality Day, volunteer as a team and make this a team-building activity. Come up with a project and discuss its execution. Make the project women-centric—an excellent initiative to promote awareness and team bonding.

Here are a few projects to ideate and work as a team:

• You can visit schools or join students in their online classes and do a reading session on gender studies.

• Organize a blood donation camp

• Consider doing some charity for the homeless women

• Organize lunch and learn sessions with some women leaders of your region

4. Listen to women

Are you wondering how to improve work conditions for the female staff at your company? Well, all you need to do is, ask!

Many complaints about harassment, workplace discrimination, subjugation, go unnoticed or they don’t get lodged even. This is because of the social stigmas and humiliation attached. To solve such uncomfortable situations for women and call out predators at work, you must listen to them. And you can do that innovatively and confidentially. Here are some possible ways:

• Set up a suggestion box

• Set up a designated complaint box for sexual harassment

• Carry out employee surveys

• Take individual inputs on ways to improve job satisfaction and women’s safety at work.

5. Update the bookshelf

Education and awareness are the best way to celebrate equal rights! And nothing beats reading some great feminist authors on Women’s Equality Day to help everyone reset their patriarchal worldview.

Reading is a mindful and relaxing activity that helps you connect with the outside world. So, to help you get associated with feminism and women’s rights, here are some fantastic books that will give you insights on gender equality.

• “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

• “Broad Influence” by Jay Newton-Small

• “Women, Race & Class” by Angela Davis

• “Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

6. Give a shout out

Finally, to mark Women’s Equality Day, you can simply spread the word and announce the occasion to garner the needed attention. Take it to social media and your internal portals. Change your logo to support the event and ask your design team to come up with exciting ideas.

Also, you can run a fun quiz amongst the team members. For example, ask them to guess the year when women got voting rights in the U.S. Only a few will get it right, we bet!

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