Women were cautioned about complacency, because total equality hasn't been achieved.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Women must continue to press for equal rights, building on the struggle of those who sacrificed for women's suffrage.
That was the theme of a program Friday to mark Women's Equality Day at Women's Park on Mahoning Avenue.
The event commemorated the 85th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. The amendment took effect Aug. 26, 1920.
Liz McMahon Wozniak, executive director of the Warren YWCA, said women receiving the voting right was "the most pivotal event in not only women's history, but the history of our nation and the world itself."
It took women, she pointed out, 157 years to gain the that right.
The campaign was initiated in 1848. Wozniak said it was difficult at the time to keep the movement together when travel and communications were difficult and expensive.
Wozniak warned about complacency today.
What she said
"Quite frankly, we are fighting for equality as caring citizens and contributing workers," she said. "Just because your life may be working, you need to think about others who are still building theirs."
"We share much with our historic mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends. We must guard and hold fast to the dream that began 157 years ago. As we extend our hands across the years, our challenge -- our responsibility -- is vigilance without cynicism," she said.
The Women's Park is across Mahoning Avenue from the Upton House. The historic site is named for Harriet Taylor Upton, a local and national leader of the suffrage movement.
Carolyn Andrews, past president of the Harriet Taylor Upton Association, called attention to a large percentage of unwed women who don't bother to register to vote, giving up their basic rights.
Andrews explained how Upton was originally against the suffrage movement, even writing against it at one time.
But after meeting in Warren with Susan B. Anthony, national leader of the movement, she made the commitment to women's rights.
What group does
The Upton association, Andrews explained, tries to continue the work of Upton, especially educating children about the importance of voting.
State Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles, D-65th, told the group of mostly women that if it were not for those who have struggled for women's rights, women wouldn't hold elected office.
Nonetheless, she pointed that there are only 21 women in the state House and five in the state Senate.
She urged men and women to get out of their "comfort zone" and make a difference.
She called for equal pay for equal work, to allow women to achieve their full potential.
Madonna Chism-Pinkard, community relations director at WFMJ-TV, said that all woman deserve the right to vote and be treated fairly.
"Every woman who has the same qualifications as a man, I believe, should be paid the same," she said.
Mayor Michael J. O'Brien called on women of today to pass on their hopes, dreams and desires to the women of the next generation.