On August 26, people across the U.S. will celebrate
Women’s Equality Day. It’s a time to celebrate the passage of the 19th
Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, and honor the women who
fought for that right. But as 2020 brings the 100th anniversary of women’s
suffrage in the U.S. it is critical to recognize the historic event did not
bring equal voting access to all women.
Following the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Black
women and other women of color continued to face barriers to voting.
Today, Black people, Indigenous people and people of color still encounter
hurdles to casting a ballot and being heard in our community.
If you are looking for a way to support gender equity and
empower all women, identities and abilities, take inspiration from the actions
of these women.
1. Show up at the polls
From your local school board to the U.S. Senate, it’s
important to vote in every election. Go out and vote and bring your daughters to
see you vote. Encourage other women to vote. Find ways to help people in
traditionally marginalized communities vote. YOU can determine our future by
understanding the issues that impact women in your community and voting for the
issues that help women improve their health, education and financial
stability. Register to vote at unitedway.org/voteunited
2. Empower women’s economic stability
Women are more likely to find themselves living in
poverty than men. For Black women, the pay gap between their earnings and those of white men and women is substantial. Black women earn $0.61 for every $1 earned by white men and $0.83 for every $1 white women earn. You can support financial
empowerment for women by giving back to Knoxville Area Urban League, a center
where low-income women and their families can receive financial coaching, job
training, credit management and more. Over 4,000 women and their families have
improved their lives through the program. The Knoxville Area Urban League gives
workforce and employment assistance, a curriculum design to help participants
obtain employment, build transferrable skills and secure viable careers. They
provide individual and group career counseling, career readiness assessments,
vocational rehabilitation assessments, computer instruction, resume
development, job search assistance, job referrals and placement, and employer
3. Create meaningful mentorships
According to McKinsey
& Company, “Black women and women with disabilities face more
barriers to advancement, get less support from managers, and receive less
sponsorship than other groups of women.” To help all women navigate the unique
challenges they experience, United Way of Greater Knoxville's Young Leaders' Society created a mentoring program where older professionals can mentor younger individuals —helping them
achieve business, civic and community impact goals. The program has resulted in many long-term partnerships, a key factor in good health and financial
4. Build the next generation of leaders
Women leaders are looking to Generation Z to ensure a
better future for their communities. Girl Talk, Inc wants to empower girls to
become their best selves. They have what is called the Girls Talk Life Prep
Academy to prepare juniors and seniors in high school for college, career,
and/or life. Through consecutive weekly sessions each semester, they cover a
variety of topics.
5. Give to good causes
Supporting good causes helps increase gender equity.
Women hold the power of the purse, especially when it comes to giving. As a
woman’s income rises, she is more
likely to give to causes she cares about than a male counterpart.
And women are often greater champions for their charitable causes. By
advocating for charitable giving by her family, women ensure that billions of
dollars return to their local communities or spread across the globe to make
the world a better place.
6. Unite as a network of donors and volunteers
Join Women United. This growing, global group of 75,000+
women is dedicated to creating more opportunities for everyone. By networking,
sharing ideas, pooling their resources and focusing their time on key causes,
members have raised more than $2 billion since 2002.