Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Women's Equality Day

Last week the president issued a proclamation for Women's Equality Day, 2009.

This day is celebrated on August 26 of each year. First established in 1971, the date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, woman's suffrage, to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women full voting rights in 1920.

Congressional Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) spearheaded the Women's Equality Day initiative. Known as "Battling Bella" and "Hurricane Bella," Abzug was a dedicated women's advocate who worked to promote the Equal Rights Amendment, the needs of working mothers, sexual nondiscrimination, national day care centers, and yes, gay rights.

Isn't homophobia just an extension of gender discrimination, after all? Antigay sentiment is a manifestation of the idea that there are certain distinct ways for men and women to act and to relate to each other. If people were truly treated equally, if gender identity and expression were irrelevant, then sexual orientation wouldn't matter.

Check of the National Women's Hall of Fame to celebrate the progress women have made, as well as to rededicate efforts to achieve equality of the sexes - and sexual orientations - in our country.

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