A Look Back at all The Strides Women Have Made
By Tara Lundy
Women truly are a powerful force to be reckoned with. With August 26th being Women’s Equality Day, it’s the perfect time to reflect on just how far women have come. Even though we still have a long way to go in terms of full equality between men and women, why not use the day to celebrate the mountains women have conquered and continue to do so?
Even though there’s still a huge gap between men and women in politics, women have certainly come far seeing as it was almost 100 years ago that women were granted the right to even vote. In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential candidate for the Democratic party. Although she didn’t win, the fact that she became the Democratic nominee was a huge step in moving towards equality.
As of 2019, 23.7% of women currently hold seats in the United States Congress with 25 women serving in the Senate and 102 serving in the House of Representatives. What’s amazing about this is that even though there is still an underrepresentation of women versus men in politics, this is currently the highest number of women we’ve ever had in Congress. Considering the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives was Jeannette Rankin in 1916, we’ve come a long way and are more than likely to continuously increase the percentage of women in politics.
Whether you’ve experienced it yourself or have just read about it, we’re all aware of the gender pay gap that women so often have to deal with. Even though the United States passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, there’s still a way to go considering the women’s median annual earnings are almost $10,000 less than men. The pay gap is especially noticeable for women of color considering that Hispanic women earn only 58% compared to men. Meanwhile, white women earn 79% of what men do. However, considering how the gender pay gap closed by 1% this year and the importance of the #MeToo movement, this could be a sign that things will continue to trend upward.
In 1840, Catherine Brewer became the first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan College. Since then the number of women attending colleges has majorly increased. In fact, nowadays women make up 56% of college campuses and outnumber men in all areas of education. This not only shows how important an education is to women but just attests to the fact of how successful we want to be in the world.
What We Can Do to Keep Making Strides?
Support Women-Owned Businesses
As if being a woman in today’s world doesn’t already have its fair share of challenges, being a woman in business can be even tougher. In order to help women be as successful as possible, take the extra step in celebrating all of women’s hard work by supporting their businesses. You’ll find that women-owned businesses are offered in all kinds of industries, such as fitness, beauty, and financial services. If you want to pick and choose which kind of companies you want to support the most, think about the values that are most important to you. For example, if being animal-friendly or vegan is a huge part of your life, consider supporting a women-owned hair color company with healthy, vegan hair care products that will make you both feel and look great. Or if you’re a woman who loves to be outdoorsy and adventurous, look towards an online camping store created by women for women! Whatever you’re looking for, the options are truly endless for how you can help support women and their ventures.
Women’s Equality Day: Be an Advocate
With women’s rights being talked about now more than ever, it’s important to be an advocate for women in whatever way possible. You can show your support for women in all kinds of ways, whether it’s attending rallies or showing your support on social media. Bringing any kind of awareness to the need for equality can help make a difference. Even doing something smaller like simply supporting your closest friends through a tough time is helping to be an advocate, and not just on Women’s Equality Day! We’re all in this together and are stronger as a cohesive unit so showing your support will be appreciated and admired by all women.