Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed August 26 as Women’s Equality Day in North Carolina to honor women leaders across the state and encourage residents to support organizations that advocate for social progress and equity for women.
“Today, we celebrate the women in our communities who are breaking barriers and the women who inspired them,” Governor Cooper said. “Smart, strong women leaders will continue to lead the way as we work to ensure that everyone has access to equal opportunities, pay and respect for their contributions.”
Women’s Equality Day celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted some women the right to vote. However, it also recognizes ongoing gender disparities and the continued effort to advocate for the rights and privileges for all people regardless of sex, race, religion or socioeconomic status.
“While a great deal of progress has been made there is still work to be done to overcome the many disparities impacting women and our diverse communities,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “It will certainly take a commitment from all of us to make a step towards change.”
The Governor and his administration are working to advance gender equality in North Carolina, including protecting access to reproductive health care services. In July, Governor Cooper issued an Executive Order that takes several steps to defend access to reproductive health services across the state, including protecting state employees, doctors and nurses and their patients. Executive Order No. 263 will help make sure patients get the health care they need in North Carolina.
In May 2019, the Governor signed Executive Order No. 95, which provides state employees with eight weeks of paid parental leave after giving birth or four weeks of paid parental leave after a partner gives birth or to bond with and care for a child in the event of adoption, foster care or other legal placement. To date, more than 5,600 state employees have used Paid Parental Leave since the benefit became available.
In April 2019, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 93 directing state government agencies to ban the use of salary history in the hiring process. Removing the use of salary history can help close the gender pay gap for women and help families become more economically secure. Governor Cooper also signed Executive Order No. 82 in December 2018 to extend workplace protections and modifications to pregnant state employees.
Housed within the North Carolina Department of Administration, the North Carolina Council for Women and Youth Involvement was started 59 years ago to advance and protect the rights of women. The Council provides guidance on a variety of issues that women face, including health and wellness, youth development and education and employment, as well as funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs.
To recognize Women’s Equality Day, the NC Office of State Human Resources is hosting a virtual program, “A Conversation with Gloria Steinem: The State of Women.” The event will be streamed live on YouTube on Tuesday, August 30 from 1-2:30 p.m.
Read the Proclamation