Recognizing Women’s Equality Day and the fight for the right to vote

Central Floridians celebrate passage of 19th amendment

ORLANDO, Fla. – August 26th is the day the United States recognizes women's accomplishments, and the struggles women had to face for their right to vote.

Since 1971, Women’s Equality Day has been observed and commemorates the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted the right to vote to women.

“In the ’70s, women couldn’t get a credit card on their own, you know, there were times that we couldn’t own property on our own,” recalled Sandi Vidal, co-president of the League of Women Voters in Orange County.

Vidal said the changes have been significant in the past 50 years to the way women are perceived and treated.

“We have seen more and more women get politically active. We have a woman in the position of potentially becoming a vice president. We have representation here in Orange County with (Rep.) Val Demings in the House of Representatives and many others across the county.”

When it comes to legislative decisions, Vidal said a women’s input makes a bigger impact in society.

"I think that that voice is a voice sometimes of reasoning, not that men aren't reasonable, we have men in the League of Women Voters as well, but it also gives another perspective and helps to be more rounded out," Vidal said.

Which is why Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro, producer and co-host of the Spanish language feminist radio show called “Jevas Combativas” said there needs to be more support for women representation in political positions.

“That’s why it’s important to make sure that we are electing women to represent us in office and not only electing women but electing women who have our best interest. Women who listen to what it is that we need,” Piñeiro, a native of Puerto Rico said.

The radio show, which airs on Saturday mornings on La Mega 97.1, tackles topics from gender violence, abortion rights to immigration and social justice issues, among other topics.

“Just because we are women doesn’t mean we face the same barriers, that we have the same experiences. We know that Latinas, for example, are only paid 53 cents to a dollar in comparison to a white man. White women and Asian women are paid 73 cents to the dollar,” Piñeiro said, adding, “Part of Women’s Equality Day is also recognizing all of the women in our lives. The matriarchs in our lives. The women who have made it possible for the suffragettes to fight for the right to vote back in the 1920s.”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment.

According to the Pew Research Center, historically women have had higher rates of voter turnout than men. In 2016, 63% of women cast ballots in the presidential election, compared with 59% of men.

“I think it’s one of those things that’s so valuable,” Vidal said. “You have the right to vote, it’s your voice use it. We don’t want you to ever lose the right to vote because we’ve worked so hard to get it.”

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