Labor Day is celebrated each September to honor the working people of America. It is an opportunity to look at how far labor rights in the U.S. have come, thanks to the work of activists, unionists, strikers, and people who just couldn't keep quiet about injustice in their workplace. And if you know your history, you'll realize that women have played a huge role in making the U.S. a safer, more equitable place to have a job, whether they've been out on picket lines or getting laws passed to protect workers' rights.
In honor of National Women's Equality Day, the writers at Bustle have gathered quotes from women to use on social media to remind people of the fight for women's equality. Put these powerful sentences in places where they'll inspire you and others, and use them to fuel your action — by registering to vote, making sure everybody you know has too, signing petitions, calling your representatives, joining protests, making signs, or however else you choose to exercise your civic power. These words aren't the end of the commemoration; they're the beginning. Now get out there and use your voice.
March has been associated with women's rights for over a century, in large part because of the labor movement. Female garment workers in America staged a massive protest on Mar. 8, 1857, protesting their poor working conditions and low pay, according to the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. Garment work was dangerous and often involved child labor, and the 1857 marches are widely credited with kick-starting America's labor movement. The organizations behind the strikes, which were repeated on Mar. 8 in 1908 by New York needleworkers and throughout the year, were often dominated by women, including Clara Lemlich, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Lucy Parsons and Mary Harris Jones (AKA Mother Jones), who coordinated protests, gave powerful speeches and travelled the country organizing female workers. Their work is enshrined in the fact that Mar. 8 is now International Women's Day.
Women stepping outside to protest, anti-suffrage writers also said, were damaging the "traditional home life" that was dictated by gender roles; they said it was destiny for women to be domestic, and that being publicly political and demanding power was not only unladylike but also unnatural. A woman wrote to the New York Times in 1908 to say that “We wish our position in the matter to remain as it is — one of counsel and influence.” It was a common sort of argument, too: the argument put forward in 1911 by the Chairman of the Democratic Caucus noted that "The courageous, chivalrous, and manly men and the womanly women, the real mothers and home builders of the country, are opposed to this innovation in American political life." Protesting, they claimed, wasn't the act of a real woman.
Video games have always had a home for female designers and thinkers, from Carol Shaw, the first ever female game designer (she was behind Atari's 3D Tic-Tac-Toe in 1978), to Roberta Williams, who invented the idea of the graphic adventure game in 1979 and co-founded Sierra Games. But the gender split remains problematic. While women make up 42 percent of gamers when it comes to computer and video consoles, they only made up 22 percent of the worldwide gaming industry, according to a survey from 2015. And those who are in the industry face pay discrepancies even at the top of the industry, according to another 2015 study by the International Games Developer Association. It found that even though women and men have about the same percentage of managerial jobs at gaming companies, 10 percent of the men reported earning over $150,000 yearly, compared to only 3 percent of women.