2006-08-21

August 26th, National Day of Equality for Women

from the website for the History of Women's Equality Day:
What is Women's Equality Day?

At the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971 the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.”

The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. This was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the worldÂ’s first womenÂ’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York.

The observance of WomenÂ’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to womenÂ’s continuing efforts toward full equality. Workplaces, libraries, organizations, and public facilities now participate with WomenÂ’s Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities.


I am happy to be a woman living in today's world. A world where I can pursue my education. A world where I can be employed in a male-dominated field (14% female overall). A world where I can vote for our leaders and new laws/taxes/etc. A world where I can walk down the street by myself. A world where I can own property. A world where I can look anyone in the eye and not be intimidated. A world where I can pursue any career that I choose.

Now, the other day in the Autodesk discussion group, there was a woman who asked about what she should be making in her job/her location/her level of experience. So, I sort of walked her through where this information is found and how to average it out to estimate what she should reasonably expect to be making. One item I threw in there, was to reduce by 12.5% for being female. One guy made a comment (he also called me by the wrong name, thanks!) oh, I'm surprised nobody commented on your -12.5% for being female comment, obviously you had a sense of humor about it.'

What's that supposed to mean? There's no sense of humour involved. There are just facts, me stating them, and her accepting them. But! I don't think I'm going to chalk that up to gender discrimination. If you look at the results of the Salary Survey, you'll see that women are working fewer hours and reaping better benefits. So, we've just got our priorities in different places than our male counterparts.

In the wider world outside of the field of design, a recent Redbook article claims that 33% of married women today earn more than their husbands.

In fact, women today are more educated than men: In 1998, there were 125,000 more college-educated women than men, according to the Center for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. By 2010, that gap is expected to double.
Most high-earning wives said they make the higher salary in the marriage not because they're more aggressive about job hunting or working longer hours, but typically because they are better educated, and therefore landed in a more lucrative field.


That 33% comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, no less. It's good to see that so many women have realized (not just mentally, but, actually) the attainability of education. It might open up a whole different can of worms in spousal dynamics and a man's view of himself, but, nowadays, it's all down to choice not lack of opportunity.

And to congratulate yourself on embracing your opportunities, I think that you should treat yourself to a new book... how about 'She's Such a Geek', due out this fall? So that you can enjoy seeing 'Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff'.

What is the point of my post today?
Not to put down those people still stuck in the dark ages (go ahead, ask me to get you a cup of coffee... I dare ya!) but to observe how far we have come, and to remind women how lucky we are to have the privileges that we do today and not to let them go unused/unappreciated! Cast your votes, get your education... enjoy your freedom and remember those who have made it possible.
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