Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear today joined the Kentucky Commission on Women (KCW) as they celebrated "Women's Equality Day" to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote in America.
"Although we have made great strides in becoming the fair and just society the suffragists once envisioned, gender and ethnic inequalities persist," said Gov. Beshear. "We must continue their important work and turn their vision of equality into reality in the Commonwealth."
"While the ratification of the 19th Amendment paved the way for many glass ceilings to be broken, significant obstacles remain -- and today's celebration will hopefully inspire us all to re-double our efforts to realize the dream of true equality for all women," said Congressman John Yarmuth, (KY-3).
In 1971, the U.S. Congress officially designated August 26 as "Women's Equality Day" to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment. Today, Gov. Beshear also issued a gubernatorial proclamation declaring Aug. 26 "Women's Equality Day" in Kentucky.
At today's celebration, Governor and Mrs. Beshear joined Eleanor Jordan, KCW executive director, in announcing the kick-off to a 10-year initiative called the Kentucky Women's History Project, which, when complete, will:
* Create a consortium to document, gather and research the contributions women have made to Kentucky from suffrage to the present. Along with the suffrage movement, additional themes will be explored, including elected women, contributions of women of color, the origin of women's of clubs and organizations, and the expanded participation of women in the growth of the Commonwealth;
* Develop a women's history educational component for middle and high school students; and
* Perform a feasibility study and create a fundraising panel to work with the Commission on Women Foundation Inc, the Kentucky Historical Society and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet to explore the placement of two life-sized bronze statues of women in the State Capitol.
"There are so many women who have made significant, yet undocumented contributions in the building of this Commonwealth," Jordan said. "The 90th Anniversary of women suffrage is an excellent opportunity for us to begin this project of promoting a statewide conscientious effort to write these women back into Kentucky history."
The Kentucky Commission on Women has partnered with the Kentucky Commission on Women Foundation Inc., the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Kentucky Historical Society to begin work on preserving the story of Kentucky women. The foundation has already begun raising funds to support the project. The project should be completed to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage in August 2020.
"Women visionaries traveled to the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 to ensure that our country lived up to its founding ideals," said Mrs. Beshear. "We must remember their commitment to liberty and equality for all and preserve and share their story for future generations of boys and girls across the Commonwealth."