Today is Women’s Equality Day. Honestly, sometimes I’m troubled by these initiatives directly specifically to women. With simplistic optimism, I ask why aren’t we advocating for All people’s Equality Day? Instead of the Violence Against Women Act… let’s create the Let’s End All Violence Act. But I know why these targeted strategies are necessary… and that they make a difference for not only women, but women, children, and men.
Why are the needed?
Pay equity: The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reports, Women are almost half of the workforce. They are the equal, if not main, breadwinner in four out of ten families. They receive more college and graduate degrees than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2012, female full-time workers made only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 23 percent. Women, on average, earn less than men in virtually every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data.
Violence against Women:  Most of  our initiatives to help victims  of sexual assault and domestic violence grew  out of the feminist movement. Their efforts have brought about victim assistance programs, have changed laws, policies and public awareness… and most importantly saved lives. And while they were developed to end violence against women, those same services, laws and awareness also help men who have been victims of relationship and sexual violence.
While equality for Women is still an issue in the US, it’s even a greater concern in other parts of the world where violence, poverty, lack of access to health care, rape and gender-based atrocities afflict women. So let’s support Gender Equality Day.
Why? Because we’re making a difference. RAINN provides just one example
Sexual assault has fallen by more than 50% in recent years.Had the 1993 rate held steady, about 9.7 million Americans would have been assaulted in the last 20 years. Thanks to the decline, the actual number of victims was about 4.2 million. In other words, if not for the progress we’ve made in the last 20 years, an additional 5.5 million Americans would have become victims of sexual violence.
While we should be happy that we’re making progress, we are still a very long way from solving this problem. Every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted.
Our friends at NY Charities are encouraging people to make a donation today to support programs that assist women and girls. Today I took just a couple of seconds to send donations electronically  to two of my favorites, Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County and Soroptimist International of Saratoga County. Want to join me in supporting Women’s Equality Day? Let your favorite women’s organization know you appreciate all they do.