Women’s Equality Day was celebrated this year on Wednesday, August 26 and commemorated the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 18, 1920, granting women the right to vote in political elections (“suffrage”). Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day in 1973 to commemorate the 19th Amendment.
The first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. The 19th Amendment was introduced in 1878 and 45 years later, in 1920, white women were granted the right to vote. Women of color were denied this right over 45 years and barriers are still faced today.
Many courageous and tenacious women (“suffragettes”) have fought for 150 years to seek full equality. This year, we celebrated every woman who has fought, and those who are still fighting, to advance ALL women as we carry on the battle for equality. We must stay the course.
The Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) of Howard County has been supporting women and girls in Howard County for the past 18 years. Together, we are building a community of philanthropists and creating a permanent legacy to continue to help meet needs of women and girls in a variety of ways in Howard County.
Our goals are to:
– Increase philanthropic giving by local women.
– Build a permanent endowment to ensure giving for many years to come.
– Raise awareness about gender disparities and the resulting consequences to women, families, and society.
– Implement a diversity, equity, and inclusions lens to all of our work.
– Empower strong and prepared women and girls by increasing and ensuring appropriate life skills.
– Encourage healthy physical growth and personal authority of young women and girls.
– Sustain the WGC for future generations.
Regardless of party affiliation, we believe that resources, including time, energy, expertise, and money, should be directed to critical systemic change in the political, social, and economic arenas. These systems significantly impact the present and future of every girl and woman, as well as their sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers. As women gain greater equality, the world will be a better place for boys and men, too.
It will continue to take women of concern, compassion, and generosity to hold tight to and carry forth the torch of equality and keep the fire burning.
Collective giving is one way that we can positively impact the women and girls in our community. Another way is by making our voices heard at the kitchen table, the boardroom table, in state legislatures, Congress, and everywhere in between.
And, of course, we must VOTE! If you haven’t registered to vote, please register today. If you want to request a Mail-In Ballot, please request it today. If you are unsure of your polling place, look it up today. Make a plan to vote so you can ensure that your vote counts. And while you’re at it, please make sure to complete the 2020 Census as soon as you can.
We value all women who have given to WGC over the past 18 years. As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day this year we invite you to consider a gift to the In Her Honor Fund to honor a woman who has made a difference for all of us, including yourself.
Every woman stands on the shoulders of the women who came before us.
Here’s to strong women! May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
– Former First Lady, Michelle Obama
Learn more about the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County and our efforts at: www.womensgivingcircle.org
By: Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Executive Director, WGC
Melissa Curtin, WGC Advisory Board Member and Commissioner, Maryland Commission for Women