Regardless of the field of endeavor – science, sports, business, politics – women have shattered long-held traditions, customs, and taken their rightful places in the world. From running companies to running countries. Gender equal leadership will lead to a more inclusive and effective society. Although work is still being done, see how trailblazers like Sojourner Truth and Kamala Harris have demanded and fought for women equal rights.
How it Started
In the last 150 years, women’s roles have changed dramatically across the world.
The women empowerment movement launched when the U.S. Congress ratified the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote, The right is known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920.
This amendment was the direct result of hard-fought efforts from many women who took action and lead change.
One significant Black activist who paved the way for Black women suffrage equal pay gap was Sojourner Truth, performing what is widely known to be her most famous speech at the Women’s Right Convention(Seneca Falls Convention) in Akron, Ohio, “Ain’t I a Woman” May 29, 1851.
She came forward to the platform and addressed the President and said with great simplicity: “May I say a few words?” Receiving an affirmative answer, she proceeded:
“I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman’s rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now.”
In the early 20th century, most women in the United States did not have the option to work outside their home, and those who did were young and unmarried.
In that era, 20 percent of all women were “gainful workers,” as the Census Bureau then categorized labor force participation outside the home, and only 5 percent of those married were categorized as such. Of course, that doesn’t include women doing family businesses and producing goods, such as agricultural products, for sale.
African American women were about twice as likely to participate in the labor force as were white women at the time, largely because they were more likely to remain in the labor force after marriage.
As the fight for women to vote continued, Black women participating in the suffrage movement continued to experience discrimination from white suffrages who wanted to distance the fight from voting rights to the question of race.
Many began creating their own Suffrage groups where they could relate to a lot more.
How it’s Going
A century later, race and gender lines continue to be uneven outcomes for women of all races. This is particularly evident in the underrepresentation and experiences of women employed in professional and political environments.
Although the gap in earnings between men and women has narrowed substantially, progress has slowed lately with the emergence of covid-19. Women working full time still earn about 17 percent less than men, on average, each week. Even when we compare men and women in the same or similar occupations such as politics, sports, tech, who appear nearly identical in background and experience, a gap of about 10 percent typically remains.
However, with that being said there has also been a great shift in the creative and entrepreneurial space, Black women have owned this space and significantly shown the world what it means to create something out of nothing. By definition known as a BOSS WOMAN! We’ve taken our power, figured out how to scale small businesses while also doing what we love and taking care of our families at the same time.
We cannot fail to mention the progression of women’s rights without mentioning boss women trailblazers continuing to make history, fighting for our social and political rights.
Today and every day we Salute Vice President Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States of America becoming the second Black woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate and the first female, first Black, and first Indian-American Vice President.
Since elected, In a global women’s rights forum conversation, she made it clear she is committed to fighting for women to dream without limitations.
Harris says, “Throughout my career, I have worked to protect women from violence and exploitation. I know what happens when women are supported. I know what happens when women are heard. When women are heard, whether that is in the courtroom, in the workplace, in the halls of government, or at the ballot box, democracy is more complete.”
She makes gender equality a priority, often raising the importance to make equal participation of women and girls in decision making, as it is essential and equally important to any other issue faced in this country. Saying “ Democracy is strongest when everyone participates, and is weaker when people are left out. An we’ve seen this in the United states.”
Fighting for a better society not only is worthwhile, but possible.
Here’s the truth: The world needs women. When women have access to capital to start small businesses, access to reproductive healthcare to stay healthy, and when women can live care free from violence; women can participate more fully and our democracy grow stronger.
Kamala concludes her speech saying “So I know, without doubt, gender equality strengthens democracy. And, for our part, the United States will make a number of commitments today to reinforce our own institutions. And these commitments have one thing in common: They will yield results – real, tangible results – that improve the lives of women in the United States and women around the world.
As leaders such as Kamala Harris continue to fight for equality and make history, her tenacity fuels future women leaders of tomorrow to shatter glass ceilings.