Equality Equals Prosperity

“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

/Kofi Annan/

Women’s Equality Day has been celebrated annually on 26th August since 1973 when it was officially designated by President Richard Nixon. On this day in 1920 the US Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

Living in the 21st century one may start wondering if there is still a need for celebrating such a day. The answer is simply reflected by the facts and figures provided on the Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 5: Gender Equality site, some of which you can see quoted below:

In 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working;

One in five women and girls have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last 12 months.

When adding some of the statistics coming from the 2022 Report on Gender Equality in EU:

On average across the EU, women account for 33% of members of national parliaments and 32% of senior ministers in governments;

Only 26% of leaders of major political parties are women;

one can easily notice that gender equality is definitely an issue requiring a lot of attention globally.

She-roes on Europeana

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! /Maya Angelou/

Women’s History constitutes an enormous collection of resources on Europeana where you can find numerous blog posts devoted to significant historical events, such as Celebrating the History of Women’s Rights focusing on the suffrage movement, or Liberation Skirts combining upcycling with female solidarity.  Within the collection I greatly enjoyed discovering materials on extraordinary women like Astrid Lindgren, whose books enlivened our childhood, Frida Kahlo, whose artistry and life story inspire not only artists and activists, and Maria Skłodowska Curie, who still remains the only woman that won The Nobel Prize twice and the only person to have won it in two different categories. Within the collection you can find a lot of amazing resources on women coming from different countries, backgrounds and historical periods representing different categories: fashion, literature, art, society, politics and sport – everyone can choose their own themes of interest. If you wish to learn more about Women’s History in a well-organized way, however, you can also sign up for a two-week Europeana course to receive, straight to your inbox,  fascinating stories presenting exceptional female figures, including writers, scientists, activists and other notable women.

Following Europeana Educators

Many Europeana Educators have created interesting learning scenarios devoted to the theme of women and their role in society. Thus, check out BreakOUT the Glass Ceiling if you are searching for an interactive lesson plan to teach your students about ‘invisible women’ that have broken invisible historical barriers. Gender equality and human rights are the leading motives for such learning scenarios as A Timeline of Women’s Rights in Europe, Gender Inequality in Workplaces, Women, Feminism and Human Rights and Changing Role of Women in Early 20th Century. Your students will also definitely enjoy the thought-provoking ideas presented in (steareo)Typical Women, Labour Market and Women through Centuries or Influential Women in Technology.  Let’s discuss the examples of she-roes’ achievements in our classrooms not only to educate our students but also to encourage girls to reach for the stars!

Filling in the pedestal

Basement van donkergroen marmer – 1927 – Rijksmuseum, Netherlands – Public Domain.

What about celebrating Women’s Equality Day with Europeana? Definitely, there are some inspiring women coming from your country who have added to the country’s or even world’s prosperity and deserve to be place on the pedestal. Why don’t you read the Carving a Place for Women on Statues blog post and leave your comment?

By Katarzyna Siwczak, Europeana Education Ambassador

Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Atria, Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History.

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