I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

August is a very busy time for parents. Kids are heading back to school, wardrobes need to be changed with the weather, and we’re packing in as much sunshine and vacations as we can before the weather turns. Therefore, women’s rights might not be on your August bingo card.

But for moms, in particular, August holds something very important: Women’s Equality Day. Every year on August 26, the National Women’s History Alliance recognizes the immense progress that has been made to ensure women have equal and full rights in our country. This is in addition to the equally important International Women’s Day we celebrate in March.

While I have many passionate feelings about the current state of women’s rights in the United States today, I instead want to reflect on why this day is so important. We’ve come so far, and that progress deserves to be known and honored. 

Women's Rights to vote, 'I voted' sticker

Women gained the right to vote in the United States just a short 103 years ago. In 1919, for the first time in our nation’s history, women were granted the right to vote in the United States. This victory took decades to achieve, and decades before that to fight for. Our country is 246 years old. That means that we’ve had this right for less than half of its existence. Being a woman makes us no less deserving of this right than men – same as any other gender identity. 

Women’s Rights Come With Responsibility 

Every year, multiple times per year, we have an opportunity to exercise this right and generate additional opportunities for equity and democracy in our country. Still, not everyone feels compelled to do so. Some believe that their vote doesn’t matter in a country of millions. Our civic, social studies, and history would disagree. 

Some may feel constrained by time. Standing in lines outside of polling locations for even half an hour isn’t conducive to our jobs, including being a mom. But you don’t need to. In Michigan, you can vote absentee from the comfort of your home up to two weeks before an election. 

Others may not feel comfortable voting when they don’t fully understand the proposals or know the candidates on their ballot. I encourage you to visit Michigan.gov/vote, click on ‘Am I registered?’ and follow the prompts to see your specific ballot and what you will be voting on. Then, read. Read about your candidates, read about the proposals, read their interviews in the news, and the endorsements they have received. Base your vote on facts, not hearsay, and certainly not on ads. 

Our great, great, great grandmothers, aunts, and founding women wanted this right for us. They fought for our equality and rights. It’s in their memory and appreciation for their commitment to future generations that we should exercise our right – our responsibility. 

We are busy. Moms. Women. Hear us roar, in numbers too big to ignore.

Helen Reddy, 'I Am Woman' singer, an important women's rights song

So for this Women’s Equality Day, look in a mirror and take a moment to appreciate all of the women who came before you to make you who you are today. Then do them proud and celebrate your equality in the voting booth this election and all future elections to come. 


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