Women's Equality Day Celebration falls on 19th amendment anniversary, pioneers celebrated

Words out loud and on posterboard created a sea of empowerment on Monday night.

Posted: Aug 27, 2018 11:22 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Words out loud and on posterboard created a sea of empowerment on Monday night.

"Masculinity is a hard, small cage and we put boys inside this cage," said ISU Junior Erykah Jenkins as she read off her poster quote.

It may be the phrase she chose for her poster, lately, it's holding a deeper meaning.

"A lot of men feel threatened by feminism," she said, "and this is something that everyone can engage in."

Still Climbing the Ladder to Equality was the theme of this year's Women's March in Terre Haute. 

The event, led by the League of Women Voters of Vigo County, members of Indiana State University and the Terre Haute NAACP, helped shed light on strides made in women's history.

Women's Equality Day, which was nationally observed on Sunday, fell on the 98 year anniversary of the 19th amendment. The nearly 100-year-old amendment gave women the right to vote.

"I think it's a good thing to celebrate the 19th amendment because it brought women the vote," said Student Cameron Stice, "and your vote is so important because it's your voice."

While women's suffrage was honored through events, there was also a focus on suffrage of African-American women. Lanyards were passed out to participants with images of black women in history and their contribution to women's equality and the right to vote.

Also celebrated at Monday's march was the 100th anniversary of the Greater Terre Haute Branch of the NAACP. 

For many, like Stice, seeing people come together for a common goal is something that motivates her to continue marching and fighting for women's rights.

"Not only am I female, I'm also part of the LGBT community," she said, "and they're also another minority that has just had it hard. So I want to represent being a woman and being part of the LGBT community."

Recognized by many at Monday's event was the steps taken with women in leadership. At least three area colleges now have women presidents leading the charge, including Indiana State University, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. 

While progress has been made in the fight for women's equality, several acknowledged there are still more mountains to move. 

"We see women professors, women educators, women doctors, women working in the industry," said Dr. Crystal Reynolds, Instructor of Multicultural Education at ISU, "We have women who have gone on to do great things outside of Terre Haute who were educated in Terre Haute, but we still have a long way to go."

"It may be a little bit of a challenge," said Jenkins, "but it's nothing compared to what women in history have faced, and I feel like there's no such thing as an obstacle that no person on Earth can't overcome."

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