Wednesday, August 26 marks Women's Equality Day. The date was chosen by Congress in 1972 to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. To celebrate the event, Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Lee Denney will honor leaders of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) during a ceremony at the State Capitol.
"When Oklahoma was admitted to the union, Kate Barnard was the first woman in the nation elected to statewide office, yet she could not even vote for herself. That right finally came in 1920, but we still have much to accomplish," said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. "AAUW knows the key is education, and has provided encouragement, advocacy and has allocated millions in fellowships and grants to help more women achieve their full potential."
AAUW was first founded in 1881, with Oklahoma's chapter established in 1919. Today there are 12 active branches and over 400 members statewide. Denney, R-Cushing, praised the organization's efforts to promote more education for all citizens.
"It's hard to comprehend that the positions Oklahoma women currently hold in public office and in the private sector would have been nearly impossible to achieve just a few generations ago," Denney said. "Women's equality really means greater opportunity for economic development. It's optimizing earning potential for more citizens, resulting in a stronger economy and more jobs. It benefits everyone, and that's what AAUW works to promote."
Leftwich and Denney will present a citation to Oklahomas AAUW leadership on Wednesday, August 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the Senate Lounge of the State Capitol.