Wednesday 26th August marked 92 years after the US first celebrated and 95 years after the cause for celebration of Women’s Equality day, and yet women are still not equal to men. Whilst women have come a long way since the first advocation for equality between the sexes such as we are now able to work, vote, be in a high political and religious position, the fight is not over yet.
The day was first celebrated in the US for passing a large milestone to achieving equality: the passing of the 19th Amendment which made it a constitutional right for women to vote. After over 70 long years of demonstrations and marches from suffragettes of all races, it was in 1920 that they finally got succeeded. However, what history often forgets to mention is the struggle of people of colour during that time which often prevented women of colour from actually being able to vote, despite it being a constitutional right. Although supposedly all women should have been able to vote, it was really only white women that were able to. It wasn’t until 1957 that Native American women were officially able to vote in every state after only being recognised as U.S. citizens in 1924. 9 years later in 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed which finally enabled black Americans to vote without arduous obstacles such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and restrictive registration procedures.
Another recent success in this movement is the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has given women the right to vote, run in 2015 local elections, and to be appointed to his advisory Shura Council. Women have started registering to vote this week!
Reaching these milestones in various points in history teaches us primarily two things:
- the fight for women’s equality is not an equal fight, equality for women should be regardless of race and ethnicity and women of colour should not have to fight for longer to reach the same goals;
- with each milestone, whilst we are one step closer to equality, there is still a long way to go.
Nonetheless, we should still celebrate how far we have come and how Saudi Arabian women are now able to participate in the upcoming munincipal elections on December 12th!