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Women’s Equality Day

Categories: YWCA Blog

It’s been 103 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting
(some) women the right to vote in 1920. Women of color were blocked both by violence and
oppressive legislation from taking part in this pivotal moment in our country’s history.

As we approach another election season, the parallels between 1920 and 2023 are striking.
Although technically allowed to vote today, voter disenfranchisement, access to fortified
education systems, and lack of basic necessities for women and communities of colors exclude
millions of our most vulnerable populations from exercising their right to vote.

In just these past several years, we have seen legislative rollbacks of key infrastructures that
were originally put in place to protect women and communities of color from further
marginalization. These repeals move us further away from achieving true equality, and most
certainly equity. In 2023, Black women still are making only 67 cents of every dollar compared
to white men – and this wage gap continues, despite Black women’s educational attainment
steadily increasing.

Last year, YWCA USA hosted its fifth YWomenVote survey, where women from across the
country list their top concerns and where they’re looking for legislators to step up. The results
echo those of a nation who still has a long way to go to live up to the promise of women’s

  • 91% of women are concerned about gun violence & mass shootings, with nearly 60%
    saying that this should be one of the foremost legislative priorities
  • GenZ women of color are twice as likely to be really worried about contraception access
    and 70% of GenZ women of color are highly concerned about access to reproductive
    health services
  • 70% of women say we need urgent policy solutions to provide affordable, high-quality
  • 83% of Black women across age, political party and income believe that Congress must
    put an end to voter suppression laws
  • Half of Asian women live in child care deserts or areas where licensed childcare supply is
    too low to effectively serve children and families
  • 76% of women support policy solutions to end gender-based violence and 75% support
    policy solutions to increase support for local domestic violence services

So as we celebrate today – a moment in our history that hits the mark, but not completely, we
must also acknowledge and uplift where we fall short. Where we still have work to do. In the
areas of protection from gender-based and community violence, expanded access to healthcare
and reproductive justice, providing affordable and accessible childcare – we have work to do.

The struggle for women’s equality did not start and end in 1920. More than a century later, we
uplift the women – bold and powerful women – who continue to push toward equality and
equity in our schools, in our homes, and in our communities. At YWCA South Hampton Roads,
we know that we can’t achieve gender justice, without leaning fervently into racial justice as
well. For 115 years, we have stood on the frontlines for all women, knowing that investing in
communities of color and standing alongside them in their struggle for equality is key to
realizing our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. We invite you to walk with
us in this journey, advocating for a country that holds true its ideals of equality and freedom.
Visit our website at ywca-shr.org to learn more and get involved.

Quick Actions to support women:

  • Urge your Representatives to sign Discharge Petition No, 6 so H.J. Res. 25 can receive
    the vote it deserves!
  • Support Emergency Childcare Funding to avert the Sept. 30 Childcare Cliff where more
    than 3.2 million children could lose access to childcare. Learn more here. Tell your story here!
  • Urge your Representatives to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act
    (S.701/H.R.12) which protects the right to access abortion services free from
    burdensome and often medically unnecessary restrictions and protects providers,
    ensuring everyone has continued access to safe abortion care.