US Women’s Equality Day – August 26, 2012

By Marina Mecl

Did you know that the long and difficult struggle for women’s right to vote lasted 72 years? Certainly the struggle was compounded by the fact that women were not even allowed to speak at public forums in that era. Can you imagine that in this current election year?!

Now, both men and women in the United States celebrate Women’s Equality Day on August 26th. It was on that day in 1920 – eight days after it had been ratified – that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was declared in effect, giving female citizens the right to vote in all U.S. elections. Sad to say, only one of the suffragists who attended the historical Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 was still alive to vote in the 1920 presidential election.

The 19th Amendment was not only a landmark for democracy in our nation’s history; it was the first step on a long path towards raising consciousness about equality – equality for women of all social ranks and equality for women and men of all skin colors and religious denominations.

Let’s turn to the present 2012 Presidential Election Year. Will this be an “election all about women,” as the title of an April 2, 2012 article in The Atlantic suggests?

The presidential and vice-presidential nominees

It’s an all male race in November with the exception of candidates chosen by the Green Party, which selected two women, presidential nominee Jill Stein and vice-presidential nominee Cheri Honkala. Women may not be running in the two largest political parties, but their votes will have a major impact on who wins. The candidates know that they will ignore them only to their own peril.

The issues

The issues are being hotly discussed, but according to a USA Today/Gallup Swing-State Poll in April, “Men and women (among registered voters in 12 of the top swing states) show somewhat different priorities when identifying issues that are ‘extremely important’ in influencing their vote for president.”[1] And the closer we get to the election, the more women it seems are bringing up the issues specifically related to females.

Political discourse via social media tools

Everyone would probably agree that social media tools have become an increasingly important means for political discourse and information sharing today. So who is using these tools? In 2011, female Facebook users in the U.S. outnumbered male Facebook users in all age categories![2] Facebook reported that the 55 – 64 age group, which included two million more female users than male users, was almost the size of the 13 – 17 group, in which there were one million more females than males. An anecdotal observation is that these older female Facebook users may be just as likely to be sharing political links as they are to be sharing pictures of their grandchildren.

Most reports are also indicating that the number of females in the U.S. using Twitter is slightly higher than the number of male Twitter users.

The presidential debates

Largely thanks to the efforts of three teenage women, the moderators for this year’s presidential and vice-presidential debates will be evenly divided between male and female journalists. When sixteen-year-olds Emma Axelrod, Elena Tsemberis and Sammi Siegel, all from Montclair, New Jersey, learned in civics class that it has been twenty years since a female journalist moderated the presidential debates, they started a Change.org petition.[3] The 122,000 signatures they collected fell slightly short of the number needed but their campaign caused a lot of attention and in the end brought success!

Women in Congress

Little has changed since I started writing articles for Women’s Equality Day in 2006, when 81 of the 535 House and Senate seats were held by women. Now women hold 90, or 16.8%, of the 535 seats in the 112th U.S. Congress — 17, or 17.0%, of the 100 seats in the Senate and 73, or 16.8%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In addition, three women serve as Delegates to the House from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC.[4] It is not a dramatic increase, but at least it is in the upward

direction. We can all see we are not equal yet!

Voter turnout – the gender factor

If the turnout of voters in the upcoming presidential election follows the trend of the past three decades, the proportion of eligible female adults who will vote will exceed the proportion of eligible males who vote. According to The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, 70.4 million women and 60.7 million men voted in the 2008 Presidential Election. Even among citizens between the ages of 18 – 24, the percentage of women voting was higher than that of their male peers.[5]

Taking these hard facts into account, you can see that a woman will very likely cast the deciding vote on November 6.

I close with this message:

May Women’s Equality Day be a reminder to ALL of us to express our precious right to vote! Remember this isn’t just a presidential election; it’s a general election, so lots of seats for Congress will be decided too. Look up your candidates, see where they stand on the issues, make your choice and vote on November 6, 2012 — whether you live at home or abroad!

Some helpful voter resources:

  • Non-partisan information on elected officials’ voting records and candidates’ positions: Project Vote Smart
  • Non-partisan information about Congress including more demographic information: Congress.org
  • A non-partisan organization providing online tools and services for U.S. voters living abroad: Overseas Vote Foundation  and their website for young voters  Youth  Vote Overseas – both  provide a handy Candidate Finder
  • A non-partisan organization that provides young women and girls with the skills and confidence they need to become the political leaders of tomorrow: Running Start


[2] Facebook Demographics Revisited – 2011 Statistics, CVP Marketing Group, March 7, 2011.

[4] Facts on Women in Congress 2011, Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, accessed August 20, 2012.

[5] Gender Difference in Voter Turnout, Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, 2011.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Caster Semenya wins Olympic Silver in her first Olympic games

Photo: REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

“She has toiled out of difficulty to become a symbol of greatness and has shown that it doesn’t matter where you come from. From her small village in Limpopo, where the people are full of poverty, she has become the symbol of a courageous young woman.”

–South Africa’s sports minister Fikile Mbalula

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

The youngest person to win an Olympic boxing gold medal is Claressa Shields

Source: Yahoo!

Claressa Shields
Claressa Shields

LONDON — Throughout the Olympics’ first women’s boxing tournament, U.S. middleweight Claressa Shields would refer to the ultimate prize as “my gold medal.” After Thursday, she can proudly claim that it is.

Shields, 17, defeated Nadezda Torlopova of Russia on Thursday night, 19-12, to claim the gold medal in the middleweight division, in the Olympic event’s inaugural year. She’s the second-youngest fighter to win gold in either men’s or women’s boxing.

Read the full story on Yahoo! Sports.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Carmelita Jeter, Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix and Bianca Knight smash the record winning gold at the London Olympics

LONDON — As Carmelita Jeter sprinted across the finish line in the women’s 4×100-meter relay Friday night, she turned to her left and pointed a finger at the electronic clock beside the track as if to say, “Look at what we just did.” A beat later, the board flashed Jeter’s news in bold type: NEW WR.

Photo credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Jeter’s final leg capped a blistering race for the United States team, which won its first gold medal in the event in 16 years and did it in emphatic fashion. The winning time of 40.82 seconds shattered the world record of 41.37, which was set in 1985 by East Germany, whose athletes were later found to be part of a state-run doping system.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Lia Neal swims to a bronze medal in the London Olympics

Photo credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

LONDON — In an American high school, a new jacket or the newest cellphone can be a status symbol. Lia Neal will arrive for her senior year at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan with something tough to trump: an Olympic medal.

“Everything was just so beyond my expectations,”

Neal said.

Read the full story on the NYTimes.com.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce wins 100 meter gold and Allyson Felix wins 200 meter gold in Olympics

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Source: ESPN

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

LONDON — Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leaned across the finish line of the women’s 100 meters, then looked up at the blank scoreboard for the name of the next Olympic champion.

Five seconds passed, then five more.

Was it the Jamaican, Fraser-Pryce, or the American, Carmelita Jeter?

The race couldn’t have been any closer, and when Fraser-Pryce’s name finally came up first, she fell to the ground and shouted,

“Thank you, Jesus!”

Allyson Felix
Source: ESPN

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

LONDON — No more heartbreak for Allyson Felix. No more silver, either.

Denied twice on the world’s biggest stage, Felix won the Olympic gold medal she’s been yearning for, taking the 200 meters Wednesday night to fill the last, and biggest, hole in her otherwise stellar resume.

Felix won the race in 21.88 seconds, topping Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the 100 four nights earlier, by .21 seconds. American Carmelita Jeter added bronze to go with her silver in the 100 meters.

“I think it was all for a reason,”

Felix said.

“It kept me motivated and it made this moment very special. It was a big weight being lifted.”

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Reggae singer Hailee Araya ‘Rid you of My love’

Singer Hailee Araya releases her second single ‘Diaspora Blues’ from her Debut Album ‘My silence’  coming out later this year,as a follow up to her lovers rock Debut reggae single ‘Rid you of My love’ that has spread widely in the Caribbean islands and now quickly all over Europe and Africa.

‘I wrote Diaspora Blues with my mother Rahel as a tribute and means to express my love and respect for Africa. As an Ethiopia Diaspora who was born and raised in Europe and now lives in America. Its a song that in a way, has lived in my heart for as long as I can remember. I thought it was time to share it with my brothers and sisters all over the world”.

Written by Hailee Araya and Rahel Haile, Produced by Hailee Araya, Mambo Faceless and Brian Beatz, Music by Mambo Faceless and Brian beatz.

Visit Hailee’s website.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post