Happy Women’s Equality Day!

The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes. – Bella Abzug

Photo credit: http://www.womenwhochangedamerica.org/profile/bella-abzug/

Although it seems a little premature to celebrate Women’s Equality Day since gender equality has not yet been achieved, this day is a chance to recognize the great women who fought for the rights that all women enjoy today.  To celebrate this occasion, I decided to do a little research about Bella Abzug, the incredible woman who is responsible for this national holiday.

Nicknamed “Battling Bella” for her strong personality and willingness to fight tirelessly for equality, Bella Abzug was a lawyer, congresswoman and feminist activist.  After being denied admittance to Harvard because they did not accept women, she earned her law degree at Columbia.  She went on to serve three terms as a Congresswoman for New York, a position that allowed her to advocate for women’s rights.  She played an important role in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, Title IX and the Equal Credit Oppotunity Act, as well as the creation of this holiday.

Bella was known for her large hats and even larger personality.  Her hats became an icon of the women’s liberation movement, but they were actually another one of Bella’s ways of fighting against patriarchal society.  Bella explained, “I began wearing hats as a young lawyer because it helped me to establish my professional identity. Before that, whenever I was at a meeting, someone would ask me to get coffee”.

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A Female Mayor of Paris – Oui, bien sur!

Photo of Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (left) and Anne Hidalgo (right) - Photo from Jezebel.com

Photo of Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (left) and Anne Hidalgo (right) – Photo from Jezebel.com

For the first time in the city’s 2000 year history, Paris will have a female mayor in 2014! The two most prominent political parties have announced their candidates for the mayoral race, and both parties selected female politicians to represent their parties in this important election. These two women are not only vying for the highly respected position of mayor of Paris, but they are also battling it to for a place in history as the first female mayor of Paris. The significance of this election is not lost on candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who recognizes the profound impact that this election will have on women in french politics.

Being the first female mayor of Paris will be a big symbol and a very positive sign for women who wanted to go into politics but who daren’t go into it in the past. Paris is ready for such a change and I’m sure that France could one day elect a woman as president.

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Feminist History Lesson: August 18, 1920

opposed_suffrage

On August 18, 1920, ninety-three years ago today, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.  This amendment stated,

“the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”.

This landmark decision ended the 70 year fight for universal suffrage which began in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention.   The amendment, drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, was proposed in 1878, but it was 41 years later that Congress finally submitted the amendment for ratification.

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Thank you, Wendy Davis!

“I’m rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans who are being ignored”

Wendy Davis

In reality, Wendy Davis did much more than that – she stood up for women all across the country and proved that we will not sit idly by while state legislatures take away our constitutional rights. Wendy Davis is a democratic senator who spoke for 10 hours and 45 minutes on Monday to prevent the Texas state legislature from passing SB 537, a bill that would severely restrict abortion access. Her filibuster successfully prevented the legislature from approving the bill before their midnight deadline.

SB 537, if successful, would have severe consequences for women’s reproductive freedom. According to Pro-Choice Texas, this bill would ban all abortions after 20-weeks of pregnancy, one of the strictest restrictions in the country. Also, it would require that every abortion care facility comply with the standards of an “ambulatory surgical center”, an expensive requirement that would force all but five abortion clinics in the state of Texas to close. That means that some Texans would have to drive hundreds of miles to get to their nearest provider, a ridiculous and unnecessary burden.

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Inspirational Woman of the Week: Nicole Pullen-Ross

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Drexel Women in Business – May Tea featuring keynote speaker Nicole Pullen-Ross. The event brought together women from a variety of backgrounds and majors to discuss how to be successful in business. The group shared some similar concerns including how to find an effective work life balance, how to be taken seriously and how to move up the corporate ladder.

After earning an undergrad degree in accounting from Hampton University, Nicole Pullen-Ross started her career at JPMorgan doing financial reporting and analysis. She later went on to receive an MBA at Columbia University and is currently the Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. She leads their Private Wealth Management team for the entire Mid-Atlantic Region, a team responsible for managing over $20 billion dollars in assets. Nicole’s story should serve as great inspiration for young women who are hoping to start a successful career in business.

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Inspirational Woman of the Week: Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem 2_0

This week I had the awesome opportunity to hear Gloria Steinem speak at the Spring Gathering for Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. This annual event brought together 500 people spanning four generations to celebrate the work and achievements of Planned Parenthood in the region. It was incredible to see the National Constitution Center full of women and men who are passionate about reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood’s mission. This group included Michelle Sanger, great-granddaughter of Margaret Sanger and Patricia Carbine, one of the founding editors of Ms. Magazine.

Gloria Steinem is a personal inspiration of mine and a role model for every young woman. If your not familiar with her story, Gloria Steinem is a journalist and political activist who became a leading spokesperson for the women’s liberation movement through her coverage of women’s rights issues. She was the founding editor and publisher of Ms. Magazine, a groundbreaking feminist publication that is still popular today. Along with other feminist leaders, she founded the National Women’s Political Caucus in hopes of expanding women’s involvement in politics. Gloria’s activism played an important role in popularizing the second wave of feminism and she has been a force in promoting reproductive rights for American women ever since.

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