The Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce invites everyone to attend its 2020 Virtual Women’s Week series of events
By Brittney Sherman
One hundred years later, we’re not there yet.
When Caitlin Jachimowicz was appointed to the Morgan Hill City Council four years ago, she found herself the only woman sitting on the dais, which included the city manager and city attorney. It quickly became apparent to her that women were doing a lot of the work behind the scenes at city hall.
The next level of leadership at the city government was mostly women. Women were largely running the nonprofits and boards that helped our community thrive, and in the legal profession, women were acting as teachers and mentors in her field. Women were doing all of this work, often while also being the primary parent at home. She decided it was time to do something to celebrate the women in our community. She had recently met Cecelia Ponzini from the Edward Boss Prado Foundation and she soon was on board. Likewise, Chamber CEO John Horner quickly offered support, introducing me to Caitlin. Along with the help of passionate community and equal rights advocate Katie Khera, Women’s Week was born. It centered around “Women’s Equality Day,” Aug. 26, which honors the ratification of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago this year.
During the past four years, we have watched documentaries, had hard conversations, and celebrated with women and men looking to learn more about equality. This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which empowered women with the right to vote.
It wasn’t equality the suffragists were after. They knew that equality was not a goal they could attain. They were right. A century later our country has still not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul fought to have a voice in this democracy, and we celebrate both the victory and sacrifices that the suffragists made to reach that goal. But we also recognize that there were dreams — and women — who were left behind.
During the first Women’s Week, we heard from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren about going to Washington, D.C. after her election. Her husband was greeted by Congressman Orin Hatch, as he assumed it must be the man standing before him who was his new colleague. We heard from local business owner Leslie Miles on what it felt like as a successful architect in the ‘80s who was told she could not get a credit card unless a man would co-sign for her. More and more we are hearing from Black women about what it cost them to be largely left out of those suffrage conversations a century ago.
This year we celebrate an incredible milestone and applaud all the work that women do in our community, while also making a promise to ourselves to double-down on those efforts. It is important for our boys and girls to see diversity in every level of government, and in every type of leadership position. We must take the lessons learned from the suffragists and include more people in our conversations and in our fight.
America is an idea that is still worth fighting for. The Women’s Week Committee, the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce, and our partner organizations invite you to attend our 2020 Virtual Women’s Week series of events. We will continue our tradition of a movie screening, AAUW programming, Powerful Women’s Panel, and other events. Visit morganhill.org and the Morgan Hill Chamber Facebook Page to learn more.