Sunday, August 22, 2010

Women, we must celebrate -- and we can!

We excel in every field of higher education.
We hold top professional jobs.
We have a voice.
We vote.

Baby, we really have come a long way. And Susan B. Anthony was in our midst this weekend to remind us of that.

The Manatee and Sarasota Commissions on the Status of Women, along with the Manatee and Sarasota Leagues of Women Voters, hosted the 90th Anniversary Celebration for Women’s Equity on Saturday.

The Bradenton Herald was a sponsor of the event, founded 15 years ago by Dr. Mona Jain and Dot Ridings -- the first female publisher of the Herald.

The Polo Grille’s ballroom was filled to capacity with the sold-out luncheon crowd of more than 430 -– mostly women, but men were welcome, too. And Susan B. Anthony -– aka actor Barbara Rowe -– was guest speaker, and she stole the show.

Through Rowe’s gripping monologue, we were honored to have a glimpse into Anthony’s amazing biography -– abolitionist, education reformer, labor activist, temperance worker, women’s rights campaigner. All of this served as a poignant reminder of how much she and other women suffragists sacrificed for the women of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The audience was a stunning representation of these women -– a crowd of diverse age and ethnicity. Our table was a great snapshot, with six young women who have bright promising futures – thanks in large part to the women before them who fought for their rights. (See the photo below, courtesy of Jim Jones, who also turned this story today.)

The event was a less-than-gentle reminder that women couldn’t always be doctors, lawyers, politicians -- or executive editors. In fact, Susan B. Anthony chided us, newspapers decried the suffragists’ efforts as immoral in the 1850s!

Take a moment this week on Women's Equality Day, Aug. 26, to reflect on what all the women like Anthony have done for us -- and remember them with gratitude.

-- Joan

At the Herald table, from left: Alanna Culver of Pineview Elementary, Juhi Mirchandani of Southeast High School, Olivia Ogles of Haile Middle School, Nupur Mathur of St. Stephens Episcopal School, Snreya Patel of St. Stephens Episcopal School, and Ruchi Ramamurthy of Southeast High School


Laurie in Bradenton said...

It was an awesome event! Reminded me I need to do more as a woman, mother, daughter, sister and business owner! Just the kick in the pants I needed. Especially with the primaries on Tuesday. Get out and Vote! It was a right hard earned.

Anila said...

Great event...gets better every year. I have been attending the Women's Equity Day Event since it started in 1995. It was wonderful to see the young women seated at the Bradenton Herald table. They are the bright future of our country.

We are indebted to the suffragists who sacrificed so much. All women must vote in every election!!

Sonia Pressman Fuentes said...

This is to congratulate you on the excellent coverage, text and photos, of the Women's Equity Day Luncheon this past Saturday at the Polo Grill in Bradenton.

I am surprised that the Sarasota Herald-Tribune didn't have a similar article or simply publish James A. Jones, Jr.’s splendid piece.

In his article, Mr. Jones stated:

“Just 100 years ago, it was unheard of to have women serving on the U.S. Supreme Court, in the U.S. Senate, on the president’s cabinet and on school boards, county commissions and city councils.”

I’m sure that’s true but one doesn’t have to go back that far. I’m preparing a talk to be given on September 1 at New College on the U.S. Supreme Court and the first woman wasn’t seated on the Court until President Reagan named Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981! But we’ve made progress since then. When the Supreme Court begins its new term this October, for the first time in our history, three of the nine justices will be women! So we’ll be going from zero during the first 192 years of the Court's existence to 33% in the last thirty years.

Sonia Pressman Fuentes
Co-founder, NOW
Commissioner, Sarasota Commission on the Status of Women.