Capital Ideas Blog

The difficult questions we should ask on Women's Equality Day

By Chelsea Vail
August 26, 2014

From: Blog

It’s Women’s Equality Day, marking 94 years since the 19th Amendment was added to the US Constitution.

So let’s celebrate the progress we’ve made. Where once women were unwelcome, they are now leaders. Janet Yellen is head of the Federal Reserve. Mary Barra is CEO of General Motors. Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton have all served as Secretary of State, accounting for three of the last five appointees to the position. Women have outnumbered men at the polls since 1980, and have gained more legal rights in the working world (such as the first bill signed into law by President Barack Obama, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act).

But for all the legislative protections offered to women in the name of equality, we still fall short in practice.

We’re still asking, “Can women have it all?”

We’re still asking, “Why aren’t there more women in math and science?”

We’re still asking, “Why are working women less happy?”

Employers still think men are universally better than women at math, and MBA moms are disproportionately affected by the gender wage gap compared to other professional women. The “Avon lady” image persists despite a new generation of stereotype-defying female entrepreneurs.

On this day in 1920, women gained the vote. Let’s celebrate by starting on the work there is still left to do.


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