Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment on August 26th, 1920, granting the right to vote to women. It was first celebrated in 1973 during the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment, which never passed by the way. So, it’s a day that is celebrated in the United States that sounds like women are now equal, but to be clear, equality has not yet been achieved. The name is meant for us to remember that the suffrage movement was just the beginning; there is still a lot that needs to be done not only for the equality of women, but for all marginalized groups in this country.
This brings me to my next point. If we’re being honest with ourselves and our herstory, the 19th amendment really only gave white women the vote. Of course this varied depending on the state and how quickly the polling stations at the time accommodated the ladies (I’m guessing many states were in no rush to get this going), but the suffragists helped to spark future organized movements that would change the course of history in the 20th century. Many women, especially women of color, would not see the inside of a voting booth until after the Civil Rights Movement.
If you are not familiar with the Women’s Suffrage Movement, check out the film Iron Jawed Angels. Trust me, if everyone had seen this movie before our recent primaries, we would have have more than a 10% voter turnout.
So how do we celebrate this equality-seeking day? Be sure to register to vote and vote in every election.
A few years ago when the date fell on a Saturday, I decided to organize a shopping day to support female business owners, while also supporting a female-focused non-profit. It was really an effort to raise awareness about the day. It also happens to be National Dog Day; not sure if women should be offended by this or not, but it really gives HBIC a whole new meaning.
This year’s event date will be August 24th, and participating businesses will be having sales and holding donation drives while supporting Dress for Success Wichita! Businesses include retail, restaurants, breweries, and specialty shops and salons. Many will have voter registration forms available at the register, so gather your gals and make a day of it.
We’ll be celebrating at the gnome with new HBIC Sour shirts! We’re finally printing the winning design from last year’s contest by Emily Rudy. Fun fact, Emily is originally from Wichita, but is now one of the owners of Norseman Brewing in Topeka, KS; what a small world! 20% of all sales will benefit Dress for Success Wichita.
Other organizations like the League of Women Voters and Resister ICT will be holding events throughout the weekend, so be sure to follow the event on Facebook for all updates and a list of participating businesses.