Yesterday we celebrated the 43rd National Women’s Equality Day. Thousands posted photos and messages with the hashtag #NationalWomensEqualityDay on social media.
Initiated by the US Congress in 1971 to commemorate the day—August 26, 1920—when American women were given suffrage, the day is devoted to celebrating how far we have come. And we have come far. Less than a hundred years ago, women were not allowed to vote but even less than 50 years ago, when the day was first launched, women could not get a credit card in their own name, legally get an abortion, become soldiers, take legal action against sexual harassment in the workplace, or assure that they wouldn’t get fired from their job if they got pregnant (the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which came in seven years later, was the first legal document outlining that employers couldn’t discriminate against employees “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth.”) Oh yeah, spousal rape (kind of a biggie) was criminalized in all 50 states only in 1993. And the morning after pill was first approved by the FDA in 1998 and only became available over the counter last year. Now, if only we can close the wage gap (women get paid an average of 23% less than men) and choose to marry another woman if we please, the word ‘equality’ just might start having more validity.
Title image source: Paul Thompson, Getty Images