On this day, August 26th, in 1920, after 72 years of campaigning, women gained the right to vote for the first time in American history. Over fifty years later in 1971, Congress designated this day as Women’s Equality Day, acknowledging that women were not entitled the full rights given to them as citizens of the US. Since then, August 26th has symbolized a day to call attention to the gender inequality that exists in the world.
According to UN Women, an organization created to help close the gap between gender inequality and empower women, women continue to make up a smaller percentage of the work force as compared to their male counterparts. Furthermore, they are more likely to work in unpaid and low-paying jobs, and are less likely to hold political offices because of lower education levels and access to health care.
On the same note, when more women work, economies grow faster, companies with women in senior management positions tend to function with more efficiency, and women being involved in household financial management leads to greater benefits for children.
However, women are still barred by laws in 128 economies from holding the same employment as men and husbands in 15 economies can prevent their wives from working certain jobs.
A number of organizations like Equality Now and Womankind Worldwide are continually working to help prevent violence against women, illegal sex trafficking, and discrimination women face in everyday life.
Luckily, change has started – in 1960, Sri Lanka elected their first female Premier Minister and in 1974 Argentina elected, Maria Estella Martínez de Perón, the first woman president in the world. Many companies now employ women as top leaders in their companies, like General Motors and Yahoo. Kuli Kuli is also lead by women and uses women-owned co-operatives in West Africa to source their organic moringa, because Founder and CEO, Lisa Curtis, knows that when you empower women, you nourish whole communities.
Curtis, who participates in a mentorship program herself known as Youth Hub Oakland, says that the best part about Kuli Kuli was that she was, “building a movement,” not just a company, and people would reach out to help them, from bloggers to scientists. As someone who has often relied on others, Curtis notes how important it is to pass it on and focus on women because, “women don’t have as many people to look up to who are running a company.”
In addition to nourishing the communities in West Africa where moringa is sourced, Kuli Kuli also uses fulfillment centers in Richmond, CA who only employ Americans with disabilities, one more way that this woman-led company is looking to make the whole world a better place.
As Curtis said, “Kuli Kuli stands for more than something in a box.”
This August 26th, raise a toast to all the empowered women in your life and encourage each and every one of them to achieve bigger dreams than they already have.
Click here to read this year’s Presidential Proclamation for Women’s Equality Day.