Did you know that today is Susan B. Anthony Day? Probably not. But I can't blame you, because most Americans -- with the exception of maybe, say, sixth graders -- are probably clueless about the holiday marking the birth of the prominent women's rights leader and women's suffrage in the U.S. How are we supposed to know? There is no "Susan B. Anthony Sale" at discount department stores, like there will be this Monday for Presidents' Day. No one gets the day off from school. There is no campaign to mark the day by spending it doing community service, like on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is usually celebrated around January 15.
Well, why the bloomers aren't we doing anything to commemorate the life and accomplishments of one of America's greatest female leaders?
Because America still hates women.
Okay, I'm exaggerating, but it's not completely untrue. Anthony led a 72-year battle to win women the right to vote. She wrote the Susan B. Anthony Amendment in 1878, which later became the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Sure, we've come a long way since the early 20th century -- we can work, we can play sports with the boys, we can sue for sexual harassment or date rape, we can use birth control to decide when/if we want to become moms, we have the right to a safe and legal abortion, we can wear a bra/Spanx or not, etc.
But sexism still holds women back in America ...
For example, U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar, according to the latest census statistics. Also, even with the gains of the 2008 election (e.g. Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin), the U.S. is 58th in the world in women’s representation in government. And I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation without paid maternity leave?
So, it wouldn't surprise me if most Americans didn't have a clue that today is Susan B. Anthony Day. In many ways, even in 2011, we're still second-class citizens. We're doing okaaay, but our society still doesn't value women enough to make a big fuss about one of the most prominent ones in our history. I'm not asking for a furniture sale, but it would be nice if the holiday got a little more hype, don't you think?
Do you think Susan B. Anthony Day could be more widely acknowledged/celebrated?
Image via Stephanie Clifford/Flickr