08/26/2020 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Thought Leadership
Celebrating Women’s Equality Day
Designated by Congress in 1973, Women's Equality Day is celebrated in the United States on August 26 to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
In the early 19th century, American women, who generally couldn’t inherit property and made half of a man’s wages in any available jobs, began organizing to demand political rights and representation. By the early 1900s, several countries had legalized voting for women as the movement continued to sweep across the world. In the U.S., the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was first introduced in 1878, but it failed to gain traction. It wasn’t until women’s involvement in the World War I effort made their contributions painfully obvious that women’s suffrage finally gained enough support. Women’s rights groups pointed out the hypocrisy of fighting for democracy in Europe while denying it to half of American citizens at home.
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the last of the necessary 36 ratifying states to secure adoption. The 19th Amendment's adoption was certified on August 26, 1920, the culmination of a decades-long movement for women's suffrage at both state and national levels.
This year's Women's Equality Day marks 100 years since the women's suffrage movement. Today, however, the women's movement is still active as the wage gap between men and women impacts women’s economic power and gender-based discrimination still plagues workplaces. This is true in independent schools, where women — and especially women of color — are not equally represented in positions of leadership. This is something we have been working to shift through efforts like our Women's Institute; annual diversity conference; and implicit bias training with hiring managers, search committees, and boards of trustees.
On this Women's Equality Day, we are celebrating by sharing the leadership journey stories of 17 fierce women working in independent schools. From heads of school to division heads and directors of enrollment and diversity, these women describe their unique paths in education, the challenges they faced, and the successes they enjoyed — and provide some inspiration (and humor) for other women in education.
Christina Pak, Head of Upper School at Mirman School
Danielle Passno, Head of Middle School at The Browning School
Johára Tucker, Director of Equity and Inclusion at Head-Royce School
Lise Charlier, Head of School at The Cambridge School of Weston
Meredith Herrera, Dean of Student Life at The Branson School
Rochelle Reodica, Director of Upper School at Marin Horizon School
Dorothy Jones, Dean of Enrollment and Community Culture at The Bay School of San Francisco
Chelsea Collins, incoming Head of School of St. Luke’s Episcopal School
Samantha Coyne-Donnel, Head of School at Emerald Mountain School
Laura Farrell, Head of School at Merion Mercy Academy
Marlene Shaw, former Head of School at St. Mary's Episcopal School
Ann Teaff, former Head of School at Harpeth Hall
Aggie Underwood, former Head of School at National Cathedral School
Barbara Daush, former President at St. Agnes-St. Dominic School
Barbara Landis Chase, former Head of School at Phillips Academy
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