It's Women's Equality Day! What, you didn't know? Actually, neither did I until yesterday, and I probably spend more time than the average person trolling the Internet, since it's part of my job. Women's Equality Day rates somewhere below National Walk To Work Day (April 2) but slightly above Newspaper Carrier Day (Sept. 4) in terms of the amount of excitement generated. Since there's now an "awareness day" for pretty much everything (and if you don't believe me, click here ), designating a day has lost its power to call attention to an important cause. And it's hard to think of a cause that's still more vital than women's equality.
Women have had the vote for 85 years now, and women of my generation have grown up with the understanding that they can do anything a man can do. But the statistics show a different picture. The United States has never had a female president or vice president, and of 50 seats in the Senate, only 14 are currently held by women. Only 33 women have ever held seats in the Senate  , in the entire history of the United States. No woman of color has ever been the governor of a U.S. state.
In the corporate world, women hold only 17 percent of Fortune 100 board seats , and minority women hold just 3 percent of Fortune 100 board positions. (And these numbers are somewhat skewed because of "recycling," where the same women hold positions on more than one board.) Then there's the pay scale, where women still earn only about 74 cents on the dollar  compared to men with the same experience doing the same jobs. And we can't forget the Supreme Court, where—with Sandra Day O'Connor's departure and John Roberts' probable confirmation—there will be only one woman.
It's going to take a lot more than a special calendar day to change these statistics—it's got to start at a grassroots level, with all of us. One terrific project to improve women's representation in the public sphere is Vote, Run, Lead , an initiative to involve more women in the political process as voters, candidates and activists. So today, celebrate this random calendar designation by planning what you're going to do about women's equality the rest of the year.