August 26, is Women’s Equality Day. It’s a day that was established by Congress to commemorate the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920, granting women the right to vote for the first time in America.
It’s an important day to reflect on the challenges that women have faced in the past, and those we still face today. It may seem unfathomable to us now that there was once a time when women were unable to vote—but it was not even 100 years ago that women lacked this critical civil right.
Consider where we’ve been, and where we’re headed. What issues do we hope to look back on in 10, 20 or 50 years—and find it unthinkable that they were ever issues at all?
That’s what makes Women’s Equality Day a powerful reminder of how far women have come in our fight for equality, and how much progress we have yet to make.
The YWCA helps fight against these types of issues every day. Gender discrimination. Bias in the workplace. Unequal pay. Systemic homelessness. They’re societal issues that inhibit true women’s equality in our everyday lives. It’s why this day should serve as an opportunity to identify the challenges in our society that still exist, and act as a reminder that our fight to overcome them is ongoing, not over.
As the YWCA of Greater Cleveland celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, it’s the perfect time for the Greater Cleveland chapter to consider the impact our organization has made throughout history. As part of our celebration, we’re telling the stories of women we’ve impacted throughout the Northeast Ohio community. You can find these “My Y” stories on our website here, with more coming in the weeks ahead.
The YWCA has been a pioneering leader in race relations, labor and the empowerment of women. We were there, on the front lines of the women’s suffrage movement in America. And it’s our mission to continue being there, fighting for women in our communities, for the next 150 years.