WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY
WHEREAS, many decades of effort by workers for women's rights were required to obtain passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote in 1920; and
WHEREAS, in 1848,160 years ago in Seneca Falls, the need was recognized and proclaimed, but after great effort there is still no reliable protection in the U.S. Constitution for women against sex discrimination in general; and
WHEREAS, in the past years, laws and policies in the Commonwealth of Virginia have unjustly discriminated against girls and women in general, or against particular classes of women, such as in matters of reproductive rights, sexual assault, marital property, and sexual harassment, and although some laws and policies have been somewhat eased, such improvements can be, have been, and are being reversed; and
WHEREAS, some institutional policies, whether overtly discriminatory or "facially neutral," in public, voluntary, and private institutions, still have inequitable effects on women; policies such as those dealing with job promotions, occupational choice, recreational opportunities, and access to medical care (including reproductive and abortion services), and stereotypes still exist which limit women's roles and activities; and
WHEREAS, young girls and adult women still must contend with unwanted touching, sexual and verbal assault, and rape, and being viewed by men as objects to use, thus illustrating that many stereotypes are still operating which reinforce unjust assumptions; and
WHEREAS, most of the care of the young and the elderly is still given primarily by women, many of whom through economic necessity must also work in the job market and/or at home; and
WHEREAS, in many other ways the tasks of providing equal opportunities to women and men, and the tasks of removing burdens which fall unjustly on women as compared with men remain uncompleted;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors of Albemarle County, Virginia, does hereby proclaim August 26, 2008, as WOMEN'S EQUALITY DAY in remembrance of all those women and men who have worked to develop a more equitable community, which acknowledges both the real similarities and the important differences between women and men, with liberty and justice for all; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board urges all citizens on August 26 and thereafter (1) to treat all distinctions and classifications according to sex as initially suspect and to be questioned until they are justified by an equitable and compelling interest of the community, the institution, or the individuals affected; and (2) to require that the burden of justification for any distinction according to sex be borne by those who wish to discriminate against women as compared with men; and (3) to examine all "facially neutral" criteria such as physical stature requirements, occupational qualifications, child care assistance opportunities, home maintenance responsibilities, elder care benefits, and disability benefits to determine whether they have disparate impact on women; and (4) to promote affirmative action in the public, voluntary, and private sectors in order to overcome the effects of past discrimination and stereotyping which have limited the life chances of women and girls as compared with men and boys; and (5) to eliminate all unjust discrimination and prejudice against women and ensure equality of rights, privileges, and responsibilities under equitable principles and practices for all women and men.
Signed and sealed this 13th day of August 2008.
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