3 Things You Can Do to Make Women’s Equality Day Really Count

August 26, 2015
Stand up, support, and share.

August 26th is National Women's Equality Day, which commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment and women getting the right to vote. But here's the thing: Not all women did get the vote that year. Women of color could still be excluded from voting, depending on the state they lived in, and they were regularly discriminated against by members of the suffrage movement, according to Ida B. Wells' autobiography, Crusade for Justice.

Even 95 years later, as we discuss how "women" only make 77 cents to every dollar men make, we rarely discuss that women of color actually make 64 cents to every man's dollar. And Hispanic women earn even less than that, at 54 cents to every man's dollar, according to a 2015 report by The American Association of University Women. 

And ready for this?: It's 2015, and there isn't even a line in the Constitution promising equal rights for women.

While we can take time today to celebrate the gains women in America have made in terms of equality, we must also recognize that things are still radically unequal for women all over the world, and not just in terms of how we stack up against men. This isn't to say that the women who have made the most gains should feel guilty for who they are or what they have, but rather that we all should work to help advance equality for all members of our gender.

RELATED: Beyoncé Speaks Out About Gender Inequality, and What She Says Will Leave You Pissed Off—And Inspired

So how can you help the women's equality movement today? We're happy you asked. Here are a few ideas:

1. Give Some Money to Malala

Malala Yousafzai became a household name when she was shot by the Taliban on her way to school. Now, nearly three years later, and at only 17 years old, she is a world-renown scholar, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and an advocate for girls' education around the world. She's currently working to build schools in war-torn areas and just donated $50,000 to help build schools in Palestinian territory. Your funds could help further her causes. Oh, and there's a documentary about her coming out in October.

RELATED: This Revolutionary New Store Lets Women Pay 76 Cents To Every Man’s Dollar

2. Stand Up for Women's Health Care

Happy #WomensEqualityDay! What does #SheQuality look like to you? pic.twitter.com/V6mAAt2XF5

— NARAL (@NARAL) August 26, 2015

No matter where you stand on the issue of abortion, it is pretty non-partisan to believe that, as women, we deserve to have the same access to health care as men. Unfortunately, as we have seen with the recent (and almost constant) backlash against policies and organizations that advance women's health care for those who are the most in need, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Planned Parenthood, many people disagree with that.

The ACA currently provides insurance to many low-income women, and it also guarantees that health insurance plans pay for services for women that often weren't covered previously (hello, free birth control and annual well-woman visits). However, many of the Republican candidates have promised to repeal the ACA if they're elected president.

Americans deserve better than what we’re getting with Obamacare. It’s time we repealed and replaced it! http://t.co/1EHfbVKBMa

— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) June 25, 2015

Republican 2016 hopefuls have spoken up about their feelings on Planned Parenthood as well.

"I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women's health programs," Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said earlier this month at the Southern Baptist Convention.

While the health-care organization serves 2.5 million Americans a year, Ted Cruz recently announced a "50-state campaign" to defund Planned Parenthood. In an e-mail invitation to over 100,000 pastors, he said, "I am urging you to confront this evil in our nation by praying and preaching with an unbridled passion until funding for Planned Parenthood ends, and this barbaric practice is purged from the land.”

You can stand up for women's health care by donating to Planned Parenthood and supporting the National Women's Law Center.

RELATED: What I Learned Working the Front Desk at Planned Parenthood

3. Fight for All Women's Lives—Including Transgender Ones

 

#PapiEdwards #shadeschuler #IndiaClarke #LondonChanel #LamiaBeard #TyUnderwood #YazminVashPayne #KandisCapri #TamaraDominguez #ElishaWalker #KrisrinaGrantInfiniti ##TajaGabrielleDejesus #PennyProud #MercedesWilliamson #AmberMonroe #KCHaggard. The 17 trans women killed so far this year. Thank you @janetmock for saying their names on @MHPshow today. Their lives mattered. Seeing the lives of trans folks discussed on the same show as a discussion about hip hop feminism, misogyny and #StraightOuttaCompton, Hurricane Katrina and the #BlackLivesMatter movement as well as the current climate around questions of immigration sparked by the presidential campaign was a Sunday morning for thought, reflection, outrage, mourning and celebration. Congrats again to Raffi Freedman-Gurspan for your historic White House appointment. Congrats to everyone at #Nerdland for a powerful show today. #SayTheirNames #TransLivesMatter #TransIsBeautiful #BlackLivesMatter

A photo posted by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on

While the media has been captivated by Caitlyn Jenner's transition, we haven't heard enough about the 18 transgender women who have been murdered in 2015. These women deserve to be remembered. Here is a list of their names and ages.

Papi Edwards, 20
Lamia Beard, 30
Ty Underwood, 24
Yazmin Vash Payne, 33
Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 36
Penny Proud, 21
Kristina Grant Infiniti, 46
London Chanel, 21
Mercedes Williamson, 17
Ashton O’Hara, 25
Amber Monroe, 20
India Clarke, 25
K.C. Haggard, 66
Shade Schuler, 22
Kandis Capri, 35
Elisha Walker, 20
Tamara Dominguez, 36
Jasmine Collins, 32

You can help end violence and discrimination against transgender women by signing a petition demanding lawmakers formally investigate these murders, as well as learning more about transgender issues so you can help educate others and spread awareness in your own community.

Caitlin Abber is the senior editor at WomensHealthMag.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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