This year’s Women’s Equality Day marks the 102nd anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment into law in 1920, which gave women the right to vote. In a shift from a typically celebratory day, the League of Women Voters of Tompkins County will not be rejoicing this Friday, August 26. Instead, the organization is focusing on the ways they feel women have lost basic rights in recent years.
“In 2022, women have fewer rights than they’ve had in decades,” wrote LWV in an official statement. “This year, we’re acknowledging Women’s Inequality Day, uniting to demand that lawmakers restore and protect our rights”.
LWV is a national, non-partisan organization that is committed to defending democracy and empowering voters by informing them about local, state and national elections and public policy issues of concern to voters. The Tompkins County branch is one of the oldest, founded in 1920.
Through Women’s Inequality Day, LWV will be demanding that lawmakers restore and protect all women’s rights by passing voting rights legislation, adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to guarantee equality for all Americans regardless of sex and restoring reproductive rights following the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
“Normally August 26 is a big celebration, but it isn’t this year,” said LWV Tompkins County Vice President Megan Nettleton. “This year we are going to have a booth on the Ithaca Commons and have various women’s organizations in town as representatives and chat with people who stop by about the issues facing women currently.”
With this year’s shifted focus, LWV members will be discussing what they view as the most pertinent problems facing women in America.
“When we look at the things that have happened over the last 100 years since women have won the right to vote, we still do not have equal rights with men,” said LWV Tompkins County Co-President Sally Grubb.
In 2013, the Supreme Court, in the case Shelby County v. Holder, struck down the section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which forced states with a history of racial discrimination to seek approval for changes in election law. According to Grubb, this move makes it more difficult for minority communities to vote.
”We will be out there encouraging people to call their Senators to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full form and support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Grubb said.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act.
The Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified by the necessary number of states, but not in the prescribed time frame outlined by the Constitution.
“We are pushing that the time frame be altered,” Grubb said.
As a final advocacy issue for this Women’s Inequality Day, LWV will be pushing for the restoration of abortion access rights.
“On June 24, the Supreme Court decided the country didn’t need equality. So they overturned women’s reproductive rights,” Grubb said. ”For those of us who know what life was like before abortions were available, we know that too many women are getting hurt. It is impossible to believe that it got to this stage.”
LWV will be setting up a booth in effort to talk to local residents about women’s inequality issues on the Ithaca Commons from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.