Women’s Equality Day 2011: The Start of Something BigAugust 25, 2011
On Friday, AAUW and other women’s rights groups across the country will observe Women’s Equality Day. Together, in a coalition called HERvotes, our movement will remind Congress and ordinary Americans that rights are not bestowed; they are seized by women willing to stand up and speak out. And when I use the word “seize,” I look to the primary definition — to lay claim to one’s rights, to assign ownership, to have legal possession. We will be heard in social media and across the blogosphere, on opinion pages, and in letters to the editor. We will use Women’s Equality Day, an observance of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, as a rallying moment.
But Friday is just the beginning. It’s the start of something BIG.
AAUW is proud to launch a serious investment in getting out the women’s vote for the 2012 election. With our new My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign, we will work to educate women across the country about the rights and privileges that are at stake in the upcoming election. We will increase the volume and direction of women’s voices and commit ourselves to getting women to the polls in record numbers.
How will we do it? By doing what AAUW does best: educating, building community, and advocating. We have developed voter-education materials, including how-to manuals, community and campus outreach guides, and online and social media resources. We’ll be providing significant seed money and extensive staff support to state and local AAUW member leaders in our strategically chosen Impact Grant states. Those leaders will then use each of these resources to turn out AAUW members and donors as well as the women in their local communities and on nearby campuses. We’re doing all this to ensure that AAUW’s resources, positions, and voice answer the question, Why does the 2012 election matter for women and girls?
The election matters because women workers need the Paycheck Fairness Act to help achieve pay equity, and yet Congress failed to pass it last year. It matters because Social Security is being threatened, despite the fact that without this program more than half of elderly women would live in poverty. It matters because Title X and other women’s health programs are losing necessary funding and because reproductive rights are under attack. It matters because sexual assault and victim blaming are still a problem, and because Congress needs to demonstrate a commitment to ending violence against women.
The 2012 election is a chance for AAUW and our allies to clearly show that we will seize and protect our rights, to remind Congress and the public that women will be heard — and we will be heard. That’s why AAUW is doubling our effectiveness by focusing on women’s voices and women’s votes, and that’s why we’re part of the HERvotes coalition to focus on preserving women’s advances and rights that are now under threat.
This post is part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.