When I think about women's equality I often think about Ginger Rogers. Why? Ginger danced her way through movie musicals with Fred Astaire -- who was the bigger star. But a 1982 comic strip coined one of my favorite quotes about Fred and Ginger, "Sure he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did...backwards and in high heels."
Sometimes that's how I feel about women's equality. To be equal means doing more...dancing backwards in high heels. Well, sometimes I get dizzy and my feet hurt!
Today, August 26th, is Women's Equality Day in the United States. Recognized since 1972, the year after the legislation to establish the day was first introduced in Congress, it's also important because August 26, 1920 was the date that the 19th Amendment of the Constitution giving women the right to vote became law.
We have the right to vote and that's a powerful right. But we know that the equality dance is a marathon when we think about the many inequalities that still exist -- you've read about them -- the pay gap, the top leadership gap, the disproportionate number of women living in poverty, and so on!
Here in New York City Women's Equality Day began this morning with Junior League member Carolyn B. Maloney, U.S. Congresswoman from New York City, holding a breakfast and press conference honoring the 44th annual Women's Equality Day. It continues with a "Toast to Tenacity" event at noon at the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia, part of the ongoing work of Vision 2020, a national initiative created by Junior League member Lynn Yeakel to reach equality by the year 2020, the 100th anniversary of the right to vote. And I am sure that many other strong and engaged Junior League women are lifting up the day in their communities.
Thinking about the Junior League women of today and the many who came before us blazing trails for women in countless ways, I am energized. I'm putting on my not-so-high heels (I'm a kitten heel kind of woman) and dancing extra fast to make a difference today, August 26th, and every day. "Developing the potential of women" is part of our Mission.