Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
The observance of 2018 Women’s Equality Day in the U.S. is inseparable from the history of the fight for women’s right to vote. In honor of this important day, I will join Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and other supporters to ring the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Tuesday, August 28.
We have to remember that it was Jim Crow laws that kept most black women and men from voting. It wasn’t until passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that the right to vote was extended to all adult citizens. However, those rights are under siege. Women’s Equality Day is a special reminder that we must protect women, particularly women of color, from the onslaught of voter suppression laws that can tilt the balance of elections.
For the first time, this year a woman has been named to lead the NYSE. Just over 30 years ago, there wasn’t even a ladies’ room on the 7th floor – where the men’s only lunch club occurred. Although the role of women at many of the companies traded at the NYSE has changed for the better over the years, there is still a long way to go. Many companies still need to make improvements – such as pay equity and more women executives – and there is more work to be done to achieve true equality.
If you haven’t already, take a moment to read “What’s unequal about Women’s Equality Day” to learn more about how much I appreciate Women’s Equality Day. Let us not forget how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go.
Brittany T. Oliver, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-628-8669