Last year, before Take The Lead’s annual Power Up Concert and Conference, we decided that each year it would be held on August 26th, Women’s Equality Day. It seemed perfect, as the date aligned with our mission of intersectional gender parity in leadership in every sector by 2025. But during that time, I discovered something that shocked me. 

As I spoke with prospective sponsors and participants, it became clear that many of them had never heard of Women’s Equality Day. In contrast to March 8th’s International Women’s Day, Women’s Equality Day seemed to have faded into the historical archives known only to women’s history nerds like me. 

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Yes, women have made tremendous strides in the corporate, political, and professional world since Congress first passed the resolution in 1973. However, statistics tell a different story. The U.S. ranks 43rd globally on the gender parity index, released annually by the World Economic Forum, and has dropped 16 places since 2022. 

On August 26, 1920 the 19th Constitutional Amendment was officially published, granting women the right to vote. Although, it should be noted that not all women were initially included—you can read more about that sordid history here

We want it all, but we’ll take half.” – Bella Abzug

Abzug, the late NY Congresswoman and architect of Women’s Equality Day, made that declaration with a touch of wry humor, but make no mistake, she was deadly serious. This sentiment resonates with an all-too-real truth about the ongoing struggle for women’s equality.

Do you think it’s a done deal? Or that, “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” as the simple language of the ERA articulates? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans believe that is the case. But they are wrong.

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The ERA has passed Congress, and the required number of states, but still has not been added to the Constitution. 

This inaction has added to the U. S.’s dismal rating on the gender parity index. But there have been numerous others.

  1. Last yea, the U. S. Supreme Court overturned 50 years of reproductive freedoms in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 
  2. Women continue to earn just 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. 
  3. In leadership roles, women remain markedly underrepresented, with only 10% of Fortune 500 companies led by female CEOs. Women hold a quarter of the seats in the U.S. Congress.

Women’s Equality Day presents a chance to champion women’s achievements, celebrate hard-won progress, and ignite inspiration in the next generation of women to pursue equality as an indisputable norm.

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That is why Women’s Equality Day 2023 is the perfect opportunity to examine the roots of our struggle for equality, understand its significance today, and inspire collective action.

Let us come together on August 26th, at UCLA for the Power Up Concert and Conference, to inspire one another, outline the issues that need to be addressed, and celebrate those stepping into action. At the conference, we aim to help you hone your leadership skills, build your networks, and encourage your aspirations.

To find out more and register, sponsor, or exhibit, click here: Power Up Concert and Conference. The theme is “Lead YOUR Intention.” Be sure to use your code POWERUPW&W for a 20% discount on tickets. Let’s Lead OUR Intentions together and make Women’s Equality Day 2023 a powerful call for true equality.