August 25, 2011 by Ilene H. Lang
If women don’t vote for their best interests—who will?
Women’s Equality Day, held annually in the US on August 26th, commemorates women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Although today voter turnout among women is typically higher than that of men, women need to further mobilize efforts to close gender gaps in our society. Here’s why.
Issues like fair pay should transcend party politics. As I noted last year, the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments—a keystone document for the American suffrage movement—lamented:
“He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.”
Centuries later, pay inequity remains. But there have been and are legislative solutions.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would have required employers to provide an explanation for wage differences between women and men doing the same type of work, among other provisions. But this Act’s passage was blocked on Capitol Hill last year. And the Equal Rights Amendment, affirming that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” has been introduced in every session of Congress since 1923—and has still yet to pass.
Fortunately, sites like www.govtrack.us allow us to track important legislation and its sponsors. Check out who is fighting for—and against—the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.797, H.R.1519) and the ERA (S.J.Res. 21, H.J. Res. 69).
Support candidates who support you, that’s what your vote can do. And Happy Women’s Equality Day—let’s vote to get there!