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Women’s Equality Day: Michigan Women Still Not Quite Equal

August 26, 2010

LANSING, Mich. - "You've come a long way, baby!" The outdated 1970's cigarette slogan still rings true for contemporary women, who today celebrate Women's Equality Day and the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote and hold office.

It took nearly 75 years for the Women's Suffrage movement to see the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Sandy Soifer, executive director of the Michigan Womens Hall of Fame says despite much progress, disparities remain.

"Women did win the vote, but we know that there are many different venues where women are not considered equal, and particularly the workplace inequities. You meet young women who are coming out of college, and for the first time, they realize that in many workplace environments there are obstacles."

According to the U.S. Census, more than half of all women workers hold lower-paying sales, clerical and service industry jobs. Michigan ranks in the bottom 10 states for wage disparity with women in this state making about 72 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Nationally, women earn about 77 cents compared to men.

Soifer hopes commemorating this landmark will raise awareness of the remaining inequities facing women today.
She says many young women don't realize the efforts made on their behalf.

"They just do not realize the struggle that has taken place over decades. Yes, we have come so far, but we are not there yet, and we do have other things that need to be done to heighten awareness about this."

Amy Miller/Lark Corbeil, Public News Service - MI