100 Years After Women’s Suffrage, the Fight to Give Everyone a Voice Continues
On August 26, people across the U.S. will celebrate Women’s Equality Day. It’s a time to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, and honor the women who fought for that right. But as 2020 brings the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.S. it is critical to recognize the historic event did not bring equal voting access to all women.
Following the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Black women and other women of color continued to face barriers to voting. Today, Black people, Indigenous people and people of color still encounter hurdles to casting a ballot and being heard in our community.
In Franklin County, women are stepping up to address these challenges. They are part of organizations such as United Way of Franklin County, working to increase equity in health, schools, jobs and other key aspects of life.
If you are looking for a way to support gender equity and empower women of all races, identities and abilities take inspiration from the actions of these women in our community. Here are 7 ways you can advance gender equity:
1. Show up at the polls
From your local school board to the U.S. Senate, it’s important to vote in every election. Go out and vote, bring your daughters to see you vote. Encourage other women to vote. Find ways to help people in traditionally marginalized communities vote. YOU can determine our future by understanding the issues that impact women in your community and voting for the issues that help women improve their health, education and financial stability. Register to vote at votespa.com.
2. Empower women’s economic stability
Women are more likely to find themselves living in poverty than men. For Black women the pay gap between their earnings and those of white men and women is substantial. Black women earn $0.61 for every $1 earned by white men and $0.83 for every $1 white women earn. You can support financial empowerment for women by giving back to United Way of Franklin County's Community Fund to support financial stability programs.
3. Mentor a younger female colleague
Relationships between women in the workplace can be a confidence booster and a source of cross-generational support. But many women, especially women who are part of communities that are marginalized lack sponsors at work. According to McKinsey & Company, “Black women and women with disabilities face more barriers to advancement, get less support from managers, and receive less sponsorship than other groups of women.” Do you know a younger woman who would benefit from your professional experience? Don’t be afraid to reach out for a coffee meeting to get the conversation started.
4. Advocate for affordable child care
For working women, child care is a huge expense, costing even more than a college education. That burden is compounded for single mothers and low-income families. Many states are considering legislation to help ease this burden and make child care more affordable. Call your legislators and attend meetings on the issue. Currently, there is a call to action to urge Congress to recognize the strong value of the Child Care Development Block Grant.
5. Support women experiencing domestic violence.
Watch for the signs in women you meet. Have open conversations about the issue among family and friends. Distribute information about domestic violence shelters and hotlines in public places. However, never confront an abuser in public, as it can be dangerous for you and the woman.
6. Give to good causes
Supporting good causes, helps increase gender equity. Women hold the power of the purse, especially when it comes to giving. As a woman’s income rises, she is more likely to give to causes she cares about than a male counterpart. And women are often greater champions for their charitable causes. By advocating for charitable giving by her family, women ensure that billions of dollars return to their local communities or spread across the globe to make the world a better place.
7. Unite as a network of donors and volunteers
Join United Way of Franklin County in our pursuit of equity. Hundreds of volunteers and more than 2,500 donors are committed to creating opportunities for everyone through United Way. By networking, sharing ideas, pooling resources and focusing on key causes, community members are making a real difference in Franklin County. You can get involved by giving, advocating, and volunteering right here in our community.