Emikeni

The Woman Behind Women’s Equality Day

On August 26th in 1970, 50,000 women marched along Fifth Avenue in New York City in a display of strength as the second wave of feminism showed itself in history. It became known as the Women’s Strike for Equality March which called upon every system in the nation. From universities to the military, to every profession and organization, women were making a statement.

And that fight is still not over.

It would be three years later that Representative Bella Abzug passed the symbolic day for others to remember and honor the 19th Amendment that finally gave women the right to vote. With her nickname “Battling Bella,” she saw no obstacles in her way and became a leader in the women’s movement her entire life.

The woman behind the day

Bella was born to Russian Jewish immigrants and was competitive from a young age. Her competitive nature led her to receive a law degree from Columbia University in 1944. While practicing law, she focused on civil liberties, labor rights, tenants’ rights, and later became one of the first members of Congress to support LGBTQ+ rights.

She wrote two books in her lifetime, including one titled The Gender Gap, and received numerous awards and recognitions for her contribution to the women’s movement.

“I've been described as a tough and noisy woman, a prizefighter, a man-hater, you name it. They call me Battling Bella.”

Bella’s legacy is outstanding and is continued through her daughters too! I got the chance to meet Bella’s daughter Liz while she spoke during a women’s leadership class and I still carry the excitement and awe with me.

Even today, we are still on the ground floor fighting for better access to healthcare, protections in our jobs, and enacting policies that protect our people, and our planet.

We still have a long way to go, but I hope today is a beautiful remembrance of the women who came before us that empower our futures forward today.

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