Marking National Women’s Equality Day

by HRC Staff

This National Women’s Equality Day, HRC honors women leading the fight for LGBTQ and gender equality.

Post submitted by former Editorial Producer, Print and Digital Media Rokia Hassanein

This National Women’s Equality Day, HRC honors women leading the fight for LGBTQ and gender equality. 

Women’s Equality Day is observed annually on August 26 to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. While the ratification of the 19th Amendment was a major step toward equality, women of color nationwide — especially Black women — were still disenfranchised and had to fight to gain the same voting rights enjoyed by white women. 

This inequity of voting rights remains a serious issue today, but thanks to committed activists and pro-equality champions, change is on the horizon. The power of voting is more important than ever in our fight to move equality forward — not only for women, but for communities of color, other marginalized communities and those at the intersection of those identities. 

Thanks to pro-equality voters, the 116th Congress has a record number of pro-equality women serving. This includes Sharice Davids, the first openly LGBTQ Native woman elected to Congress; Lauren Underwood, the youngest Black woman to serve in Congress; Stephanie Murphy, a Vietnam War refugee who is the first Vietnamese-American congresswoman; Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress; and others. All of these pro-equality champions helped the U.S. House make history this May by passing the Equality Act, which would provide explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. It would also protect all women from sex discrimination in public spaces and federally funded programs. This is the first time comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights legislation has passed one of the chambers of Congress. 

While Congress is seeing more women representated in both chambers, lack of representation, sex discrimination and inequity remains serious issues in our workplaces — whether in the U.S. Congress or the corner office. Lawmakers must work to ensure that women in the workplace get equal pay for equal work, and they must address the racial pay gap between white women and women of color. According to CNBC, women make less than white men, and Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American and other minority women make even less than white women. 

Whether it’s encouraging people to vote, bringing awareness to the pay gap or defending reproductive rights for all Americans, HRC is proud to work and support women who use their platforms to bring power to social justice spaces through representation. From Angelica Ross to Janelle Monáe, Josie Totah, Laverne Cox and many more, women championing LGBTQ and gender equality are using their platforms to significantly influence the public sphere. 

This includes openly LGBTQ soccer player, activist and World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe, an HRC supporter who uses her international platform to demand equal pay for the U.S. Women’s Soccer team. 

“In this incredible moment that I have, I would like to use this platform to unify people… I want to bring everybody to the conversation, and the basis of it is equal rights,” Rapinoe said recently. 

While we continue to win historic victories, we must recognize how much work is left for us to do. That’s why HRC continues to deepen our commitment to make the world a better and more equal place for women and girls everywhere.