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 98th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote with an event at Dallas City Hall on August 22.
Over 150 women attended wearing white to represent the women suffragists who campaigned for women’s voting rights. 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.
The event is only an hour long so that the City Council members can attend on their lunch break. Mayor Rawlings sported a white jacket and other Council members wore white showing their support including Jennifer Staubach Gates, Sandy Greyson, and Rickey Callahan. Other elected officials wearing white were State Representatives Toni Rose, Yvonne Davis and Victoria Neave, and County Commissioners Theresa Daniel and Elba Garcia.
The event was chaired by Betty Richie and JoAnn Jenkins. Ann Moy and Brent Berryman are the Co-Presidents of WIN.
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.
Proclamations were read and followed by a brief program “Turning The Page” with featured speakers Jan Sanders, The Honorable Tina Yoo Clinton, The Honorable Dominique Collins, and Monica Lira Bravo. They are four outstanding ladies from the community who shared their stories about the struggles and hardships endured to achieve the success they have today.
Attendees ranged in age from 4 years old – Miss Lyda Wood was accompanied by her grandmother Diane Tasian – to 100 year old Eleanor Sutherland.
Women’s Equality Day Sponsors were: American Association of University Women-Dallas, Dallas Women’s Foundation, BURRs, Dallas County Democratic Party, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.— Dallas Alumnae Chapter, Federally Employed Women-Dallas Area Chapter, Hispanis Heritage Ambassadors – DFW Powerful Women Committee, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, Jane’s Due Process, Junior League of Dallas, League of Women Voters-Collin County, League of Women Voters of Dallas, League of Women Voters of Irving, Martha Tiller Company, Barbara Materka, National Council of Jewish Women— Greater Dallas, Our Friends Place, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, Judith Shure, South East Dallas Business & Professional Women’s Club, Southwest Jewish Congress, Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, The Afiya Center, United Nations Association-Dallas Chapter, Women’s Council of Dallas County, Women Organizing Women (WOW) Democrats, Women’s Issues Network, ZONTA Club of Dallas.
Women’s Equality Day Supporters were: AGE - The Senior Source, Amnesty International - Dallas Chapter, Dallas Women's Coalition, Joanna Cattanach for Texas State House District 108, International Women's Day-Dallas, La Voz del Ancianos, League of Women Voters - Richardson Chapter, Media Projects, Inc., North Dallas National Organization of Women, Peacemakers, Inc., Red Bags for Our Sisters, SMU Embrey Human Rights Program, Veteran Feminists of America, Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, Words of Women.
Photos by Deborah Brown