Women’s Equality Day has been celebrated annually for over 20 years with a program by a local Dallas women’s organization, Women’s Issues Network (WIN). Formed in 1980, WIN has continuously worked for women’s rights and equality. The group celebrated the 97th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote with an event at Dallas City Hall on August 23.
The history of that campaign is kept alive annually on Women’s Equality Day because there are still many battles to be fought for women’s equality. Actress Robin Wright made headlines last year when she demanded to be paid the same as her costar on House of Cards, Kevin Spacey. She won, but the fact is she had to ask for it.
‘Women still make only 79 cents to each dollar earned by men,” said State Representative Victoria Neave. “For the African-American, it is 59 cents and for the Latinos it is 44 cents.”
Over 150 women attended wearing white to represent the women suffragists who campaigned for women’s voting rights. Mayor Rawlings sported a white jacket, and other Council members wore white. Councilmembers showing their support by wearing white were Jennifer Staubach Gates, Sandy Greyson, Philip Kingston, Tennell Atkins, and Rickey Calahan. Many other elected officials wore white including State Representative Victoria Neave, JUdge Nancy Mulder, and County Commissioners Theresa Daniel and Elba Garcia.
Although women's voting rights are taken for granted today, they were earned through a long brutal campaign by women that began in the 1700's and culminated nearly 150 years later when the 19th Amendment was passed on August 26, 1920.
Until the passage of the Amendment, women were not allowed the right to own property, to have legal claim to the money they earned, nor the right to vote. Clothes, jewelry, and land were owned by their husbands or fathers. Bibles were one of their few possessions that they could hand down to their children.
The event was chaired by Betty Richie and Jo Ann Jenkins. Jana Barker is the President of WIN.
Sponsors for this event are: Dallas Women’s Foundation, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dallas Alumnae Chapter, Jane’s Due Process, Junior League of Dallas, League of Women Voters of Dallas, National Council of Jewish Women Greater Dallas, League of Women Voters of Collin County, Peacemakers, Inc., Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, S.E. Dallas Business & Professional Women’s Club, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, Inc., The Afiya Center, United Nations Association—Dallas Chapter, Women’s Issues Network, America Association of University Women, Dallas Branch, Dallas County Democratic Party, Carol Donovan, Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, Federally Employed women, Dallas Area Chapter, Hispanic 100, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, League of Women Voters of Irving, Martha Tiller Company Public Relations, Media Projects, Inc., Southwest Jewish Congress, Texas Equal Access Fund, Texas Latina List, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation.