Women’s Equality Day, celebrated every Aug. 26, commemorates the anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. The amendment, which was certified Aug. 26, 1920, assures that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
It was the turning point for American gender equality.
In the century that has passed since American women gained suffrage, more progress has been made to put women on equal footing. Among civil rights legislation passed in late 20th century was Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education and addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination and sexual violence.
However, gender equality issues persist today, with prominent concerns being the wage gap and gender-based discrimination in the workplace. But American women — at Augusta University and beyond — keep pushing forward.
“When it comes to Women’s Equality Day and gender equality, there sometimes is a misconception that we are fighting to make one gender superior over others, but that is not the case. Instead, it is focused on making sure all genders are treated equal and everyone has an equal seat at the table,” said Kiondra Broadway, deputy chief diversity officer at Augusta University.
“When I think about women’s equality, I think about my ‘sheroes’ who really helped shape what gender equality means: Women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Patsy Mink and Shirley Chisholm. All of these women and more helped shape and reform the idea of women’s equality.”
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
–Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to U.S. Congress
For Julie Kneuker, Title IX coordinator at Augusta University, this Women’s Equality Day is a chance to reflect on a special anniversary.
“To me, women’s equality day means 50 years of Title IX, the gender equity law that says no person in the United States shall be, on the basis of sex, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination from educational programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance,” said Kneuker. “This law gave women equal access to higher education.”
Read more: Augusta University celebrates 50 years of Title IX
Sophomore Chloe Stripling thinks the day is an opportunity to remember the past and look forward to the future.
“Women’s Equality Day means that on this day in particular, we get to celebrate women who fight diligently to combat against violence, discrimination and oppression,” said Stripling.
“Even though there is still a lot of work to be done, I am proud to say that we have come a long way and we just have to keep going.”