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Wisconsin Observes Women’s Equality Day

A Wisconsin women's leader says the struggle for women's equality continues, but progress has been made. (Meinzahn/iStockPhoto)
A Wisconsin women's leader says the struggle for women's equality continues, but progress has been made. (Meinzahn/iStockPhoto)
August 26, 2016

MADISON, Wis. - Today is Women's Equality Day, a day set aside by Congress in 1971 to mark the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote.

While progress has been made, there's still a long way to go, said Jennifer Cole, president of the Wisconsin Women's Network. Cole said today, many American women are still blocked from exercising their voting rights because of restrictive voter ID laws. Cole believes Women's Equality Day should be a chance to encourage many ways to strengthen the lives of women.

"The U.S. is still one of two developed nations to not offer or require paid family medical leave, so that is a huge hurdle for a lot of women in the workforce, in leadership positions, and just in general, to be able to have time to take care of your family," she said.

Cole added there's still a lot of work to do to ensure pay equality in the workplace, pointing out that women make about 77 cents for every dollar men are paid.

According to Cole, progress has been made in some areas for women. She said looking back only a few years, it's clear how much has changed in the workplace.

"When the Wisconsin Women's Network was founded in 1979, the fight for gender equality had a very different landscape, in that those women were fighting to be able to enter the workforce at equitable rates, and pursue professional careers, and even enroll in advanced degrees," she added.

Cole also pointed out that despite advances, the fight for equal rights for women is far from over. She noted that even though women's voting rights were constitutionally guaranteed in 1920, women of color were excluded from the polls for decades, and it wasn't until 1957 that Native American women were allowed to vote in all states.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI