Beyond The Right To Vote Women Strive For Economic, Social And Political Equality

Posted 8/24/18

Women’s Equality Day is being celebrated this week in North Carolina, in the United States, and throughout the world. Meanwhile, media headlines are reporting that more women than ever before are …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Beyond The Right To Vote Women Strive For Economic, Social And Political Equality


Women’s Equality Day is being celebrated this week in North Carolina, in the United States, and throughout the world. Meanwhile, media headlines are reporting that more women than ever before are running for political office and even more women are expected to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.

The story… her-story… of women’s struggle to vote culminated on Aug. 26, 1920, when the United States adopted the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This prohibited states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to its citizens based on their sex.

The observance of Women’s Equality Day also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality, according to Gailya Paliga, president of NC NOW (National Organization for Women). NOW is a grassroots organization founded in 1966 that works for social, economic and political equality for women. Ms. Paliga can be reached at

Ms. Paliga noted, “It is shocking to realize that American Women didn’t win the right to vote until 1920. We won this right after many hard-fought battles lasting more than 72 years, counting from 1848 and Senaca Falls when the fight got more focused. In truth, the women’s suffrage movement dates as far back as the Revolutionary War.”

Yet not all women could vote after 1920, Ms. Paliga said “Though the 19th Amendment granted suffrage to all women on paper and in theory, women of color and poor women were still disenfranchised and prevented from voting for a long time.”

Ms. Paliga highlighted several events honoring Women’s Equality Day. On Thursday, the fourth Women’s Equality Day March and Rally were held in Durham. Women gathered at 4:30 p.m. at the Durham County Register of Deeds Office on 200 E. Main St. and then marched to Durham Central Park.

The theme was “We are Worthy!” according to Ms. Paliga. The program focused on social, political and economic equality with great speakers, she said.

Many prominent leaders in Durham and in North Carolina made comments, and the keynote speaker was Satana Deberry, Durham County District Attorney.

Ms. Paliga said, “This was a family-friendly event. Besides the speakers, there were performance artists, food trucks, a DJ and bands. As a really special touch, jazz vocalist Sandra DuBose offered a tribute to Aretha Franklin.”

Also last night the League of Women Voters of Wake County observed its annual Women’s Equality Day with a fundraiser honoring political candidates from all parties at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh on Wade Avenue in Raleigh. The annual event celebrated women’s right to vote, recognized female elected officials at the state, county and municipal levels, and gave attendees the opportunity to meet politicians.

Fayetteville NOW

To Celebrate

On Sunday the NOW chapter of Fayetteville is holding a Women’s Equality Day celebration at 3 p.m. at the North Regional Library, located at 855 McArthur Road in Cumberland County. The public is invited.

According to Sharon Johnson, president of Fayetteville NOW, the program features N.C. Rep. Deb Butler from District 18, comprising Brunswick and New Hanover counties, as the speaker. Rep. Butler is one of the co-sponsors of a bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in N.C., House Bill 1072. This bill was introduced during the 2017-2018 session of the General Assembly on June 1, 2018. ERA bills had been introduced in 2017 and 2015 in the N.C. House and the N.C. Senate.

Ms. Johnson said, “Rep. Butler is a dynamic advocate for the ERA. We are pleased that she can be with us to talk about her efforts and those of her colleagues ratify the ERA in N.C.. What an historic opportunity it is for our state to be the final state to ratify the ERA.” Nevada ratified the ERA on March 20, 2017, and Illinois on May 31, 2018.

For more information call Ms. Johnson at 910-489-0100.

Triad NOW

Will Host Event

On Sunday there is a Women’s Equality Day celebration from 3:30 to 5 p.m in Forsyth County. The event is sponsored by Triad NOW, the Triad Women’s March, Democracy NC, RISE Piedmont Triad, and the Justice Collective. The observance will be held at Parkway United Church of Christ, 2151 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem.

According to Triad NOW President Audrey Muck, the theme “Continuing the March on the Polls” celebrates “the voices and victories of the past as we continue to unite women and March on the Polls this election season!”

The keynote speaker is Rebecca Todd Peters, author of “Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice.” She is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Poverty and Social Justice Program at Elon University. The speaker’s work as a feminist social ethicist is focused on globalization, economic, environmental, and reproductive justice.

For more information, contact Audrey Muck at

More Women

Run For Office

This election year women are not just running for office in record number — they are winning. Ms. Paliga said, “Many women have won major party primaries for governor, U.S. Senate and House, and in North Carolina races this year — paving the way for November battles that could significantly increase the number of women in elected office and change the public debate on issues such as health care, immigration, reproductive rights, education, racism and gun control.”

“More female candidates are the result of the factors that moved people to the women’s marches around the country and the world in 2017 and 2018,” Ms. Paliga said. “Women are fired up!” she emphasized.

“Women’s marches and the #MeToo movement are examples of how women have expressed concern for the way women are still being treated. Women’s Equality Day is an occasion to recognize the progress that women have made, but it’s also a time to look at how far we still have to go. ERA would help women immensely.”

“Our work is not done until all American women have social, economic and political equality,” Ms. Paliga said.

(AlexSandra “Sandy Lynn” Lett is a professional speaker and the author of “A Timeless Place, Lett’s Set a Spell at the Country Store” and five others books. See AlexSandra can be reached at 919-499-8880 or


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment