Celebrating Women's Equality Day, 2014

Valerie Jarrett – The White House Blog – Wednesday, 27 August 2014 (originally published 27 Aug)

President Obama listens to a little girl
President Barack Obama bends down to listen to the daughter of a departing U.S. Secret Service agent in the Oval Office, Oct. 28, 2013. Image: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

Etched into the history of our Nation are the stories of women who fought for the America they knew was possible — a country where all are truly treated equally and have access to the ballot box, regardless of gender. It took generations of fearless women who organized and advocated to secure women’s right to vote, and on Women’s Equality Day, we honor these courageous heroes, celebrate how far we have come in the decades since, and acknowledge the work still left to be done.

In the 94 years since the 19th Amendment was certified, women have made strides in every facet of American life, and we have learned that our country succeeds when women succeed. More and more the world is looking to our daughters to lead us, to heal us, to employ us, to thrill us on fields of play, and to protect us on fields of battle. Even still, inequality and discrimination persist. Women, on average, continue to earn less than their male counterparts, and for women of color, the disparity is even wider. Outdated workplace policies force too many working parents to choose between fulfilling their family responsibilities, and the careers of their dreams. And far too many women know what it is to suffer from abuse or sexual assault.

On this Women’s Equality Day, we should all pay homage to the trailblazers who fought for our suffrage and made a more just and prosperous future possible for all Americans. And as we do, we should remember those everyday heroes whose names may never appear in history books, or in the press. Our mothers, our grandmothers, our sisters, and our daughters. My mother was my first and most influential teacher, and my daughter has challenged and inspired me to be a better person each and every day of her life. These are the women who inspire us, and who represent the past, present, and future of the fight for women’s equality . . .

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