August 26th of each year is designated in the United States as Women’s Equality Day. Instituted by Rep. Bella Abzug and first established in 1971, the date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave U.S. women full voting rights in 1920. Can you believe that women haven’t even been able to vote for 100 years yet?
Why is equality for women important?
According to the National Organization for Women, (NOW) we’ve still got a long way to go. When we are unequal, it can affect our health, our wellbeing, and our finances. It can shorten our lives significantly. At least, this is what researchers Pickett and Wilkinson found out in their book, “The Spirit Level: Why Equality Makes Societies Stronger”. They were interviewed by Bill Moyers, excerpt below.
“RICHARD WILKINSON: (With a large wage gap) almost everything gets worse: homicide rates, how kids get on at school, math and literacy scores, teenage birth rates, obesity. Mental illness is worse, how much people feel they can trust others, the size of prison populations, what proportion of the population are locked up, measures of social cohesion, how much people are involved in community life. Everything seems to get worse.
BILL MOYERS: Levels of trust among people are affected by the distribution of income?
RICHARD WILKINSON: I think it’s something that people have had an intuition about for centuries. They have often regarded inequality as divisive and socially corrosive. And our data shows that this intuition is much truer than any of us ever realized. We choose our friends from amongst our equals. People don’t feel so at ease with people who are much better off.
BILL MOYERS: Inequality makes strangers of us?
KATE PICKETT: That’s right. At one point, we wanted to call our book, “Inequality: The Enemy Between Us” because in a more unequal society, the social distances get stretched out between us. As the hierarchy gets steeper, social distances are greater, and it’s harder to trust.
What have you done for Women’s Equality Day?
Have you signed a petition at Change.org for women’s equality to President Obama?
Have you agitated for women’s pay equality in the workplace?
Have you told your mother, your grandmother, your sisters, your friends, or other women around you that you care about them, that you respect their opinions, that you want to see them succeed? If not, why not?
Have you organized a union to help women’s rights?
What can you do to work for women’s equality today?
What nonprofits do you know are working towards women’s equality?
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