Perspective

Celebrating Women’s Equality Day 2016

August 25, 2016

August 26, 2016, marks the 96th anniversary of the passage of the women’s right to vote (the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1920) and the 45th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day (passed in 1971). Women’s Equality Day is a day set aside each year to commemorate women’s right to vote in the United States. On this day, we celebrate the achievements of women to narrow the gender gap and discuss strategic steps to overcome barriers to gender equality. Below is a list of a few notable women who have broken barriers since 1971:

  • 1976 | Emily Howell Warner
    • First woman to become an American airline captain
  • 1977 | Janet Guthrie
    • First woman to drive in the Indy 500
  • 1981 | Sandra Day O’Connor
    • First woman on the Supreme court
  • 1984
    • Joan Benoit: First women’s Olympic marathon winner
    • Svetlana Savitskaya: First woman to walk in space
  • 1987 | Aretha Franklin
    • First woman inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • 1991
    • Minnesota’s Supreme Court: First woman-majority state supreme court to be appointed and sit for a regular session
  • 1995 | Eileen Collins
    • First woman space shuttle pilot
  • 1997 | Madeleine Albright
    • First woman Secretary of State
  • 2008 | Ann Dunwoody
    • First woman four star general in the U.S. military (and now a member of LMI’s Board of Directors)
  • 2010 | Kathryn Bigelow
    • First woman to win an Oscar for Best Director
  • 2012 | Elizabeth MacDonough    
    • First woman appointed as Parliamentarian of the United States Senate
  • 2014 | Katie Higgins
    • First woman pilot to join the Blue Angels, the United States Navy's flight demonstration squadron
  • 2015 | Jennifer Welter
    • First woman hired to coach in men's pro football
  • 2016
    • Carla Hayden: First woman nominated for Librarian of Congress
    • Hillary Clinton: First woman nominated for president by a major U.S. political party

We’ve really come a long way!

However, even as we have made (and continue to make) great strides in closing the gender equality gap in the United States, there is still room for improvement.

The 2015 Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum, rated the United States 28th out of 145 countries in terms of gender gap issues. (The annual report bases its rankings on economic, educational, health, and political indicators.) It notes that while progress has been made in the U.S. and worldwide, inequalities still remain. It is interesting to note that worldwide the gender gap has closed only 4 percent in the past 10 years—meaning that, at the current rate, parity will only be achieved in 118 years! 

So let’s get inspired and encourage each other to always perform at our best with some famous quotes on women’s achievements:

  • “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” ? Gloria Steinem
  • “A huge part of being a feminist is giving other women the freedom to make choices you might not necessarily make yourself.” — Lena Dunham
  • "[Feminism is] equality: politically, culturally, socially, and economically. That’s it, that simple." — Emma Watson
  • “Empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s the smart thing to do… When women succeed, nations are safer, more secure, and more prosperous.” — President Obama

As a global provider of consulting services and a growing voice in family health services, LMI is committed to helping achieve full parity for women as rapidly as possible. We believe that achieving parity is the smart way to empower people, companies, and societies. This is precisely why on Monday, August 15, we convened several women from across the company to discuss global barriers to gender equality. This panel expounded upon several pillars of gender equality issues that pose great universal challenges:

  • 62 million girls around the world are not in school, and more than half of them are adolescent, leading to limited economic opportunities, vulnerability to disease, and the prospect of forced marriage.
  • Every year of secondary education correlates to an 18 percent increase in a girl’s future earning power.
  • Each year, more than 289,000 women die from complications from childbirth and pregnancy.
  • Seventy percent of these deaths occur in only 24 countries. The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1,000 times higher in a poor country than in the Western world.
  • In 2014, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 79 percent of what men were paid.
  • In 2015, only half of the world’s working-age women were in the labor force, compared to 77 percent of working-age men.
  • Every year, an estimated 15 million girls under 18 are married worldwide.

 The panel stressed that the global state of women is far from ideal and that strategic steps need to be taken toward achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. While Goal 5 states, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” the panelists highlighted how the state of women is connected to many of the other SDGs, ranging from education to health.

As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, celebrating national suffrage for women in the United States, we urge you to not let the conversation end here. Although the right to vote is an important step on the path to equality, there’s still more work to be done. Be empowered!

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