Women’s Equality Day

Today we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, 94 years after the 19th amendment secured women’s right to vote in the United States.

Since that momentous day, women have continued to eagerly push through barriers and make history. They have opened doors into the workforce and continue to break through the proverbial glass ceiling in countless sectors. Young women now are more likely to have a college degree than men—a huge social shift from even a few years prior.

Names such as anthropologist Margaret Mead, activist Rosa Parks, political leader Hilary Clinton, tech-genius Grace Hopper, writer Maya Angelou, environmentalist Rachel Carson, and CEO Cheryl Sanberg ring in America’s ears today. These leaders made their mark on society and have been valuable role models for their gender. They have set a precedent for greatness that will be perpetuated by new female leaders.

There is much still to be done, though. Only 5% of the Fortune 500 companies have female CEO’s. Furthermore, the gender pay gap continues to exist—women earn 81 cents to every man’s dollar. The “boys’ club” mentality and structural challenges embedded within society still hinder women from reaching their professional and personal goals, acquiring leadership positions, and entering into important conversations. But we need women in the conversation. Studies have shown that women can be more innovative and collaborative thinkers.

Studies have also shown that women can be more concerned about the future and how climate change will affect future generations. By bringing women to the sustainability challenge table, we are able to gain further perspective, develop inventive answers, and empower more citizens to take action. Women are integral to a sustainable solution.

This is also true in developing countries. Women are often in charge of providing food and water for their families, and therefore climate change will affect them the most in their daily life. But it also makes them the point person for social change. Empowering women through education, sexual and health services, and increased business management can positively affect the environment. They will have more autonomy deciding how many children to have, where and what food they utilize for meals, and how to implement sustainable practices in their business endeavors.

When fighting for the right to vote, women had to redefine the preconceived societal notion that they were inferior. In the environmental movement, citizens must work to redefine how society interacts with its environment. By constantly examining our surroundings we can work towards a healthier planet, socially and environmentally.

So today Earth Day Network raises its BPA-free, reusable water bottles to the women of the world!

-Johanna Bozuwa, EDN Intern