New York, August 26th, 2011– On August 26th, the U.S. celebrates Women’s Equality Day. Officially designated by the United States Congress in 1971 at the proposal of Congresswoman Bella Abzug (D-NY), founder of WEDO, the date commemorates the historic passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, giving U.S. women full voting rights.  

For WEDO, Women’s Equality Day not only celebrates a historic moment for women but also women’s continuing efforts toward achieving full equality, both in the United States and across the world. In the 40 years since the day was first established, much has been achieved to advance women’s rights globally, but many challenges still remain. WEDO is committed to tackling these challenges and forging a path towards women’s full equality in the spirit of the visionary women who came before us.   

This year marks WEDO’s 20th Anniversary (WEDO20+), and on this Women’s Equality Day, WEDO honors the legacy of ground-breaking women’s leadership and activism by celebrating the next generation of women leaders. Coming on the heels of International Youth Day (August 12th), Women’s Equality Day reminds us both of the power of women’s organizing and leadership to create meaningful change, and the need for sustained efforts to advance women’s equality. As Bella said, “No matter how steep the passage and discouraging the pace, I ask you never to give in and never give up.” Engaging in dialogue with young women leaders is central to highlighting the ‘+‘ in our anniversary; to working with and inspiring those who will help shape our future. 

Earlier this month WEDO staff spoke at the 2011 Youth Leadership Seminar of the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute (BALI).BALI, founded by Liz Abzug in memory of Bella and her work, mentors and trains high school and college age women to develop the confidence and skills they need to be effective, dynamic and visionary leaders. At the summer institute, WEDO staff shared facts on gender equality around the globe and information about their work, examined the skills and techniques of global advocacy and creating change, and explored the subject of leadership: “what does it take to be a leader in the 21st century?” 

Continuing this dialogue with young women, on Wednesday September 14th, WEDO will gather a group of young professionals to view the  film, “Passionate Politics: The Life and Work of Charlotte Bunch” and engage in a dialogue with Ms. Bunch, global women’s rights activist and long-time friend and partner of WEDO, on her path towards creating change. For more information on this event, please contact Bridget Burns, 

As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, WEDO encourages women around the world to continue the legacy of women’s activism and leadership, which helped WEDO become what it is today and can inspire a new generation of young women to share in WEDO’s vision for a just world that promotes and protects human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment. 

BALI Summer Leadership Institute

WEDO staff shares facts and statistics about the status of women around the world

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Women and girls around the world are demanding and creating systemic change and a sustainable future for all. We need collective power to attain a just future – we need you.