Rejected "Women's Equality Day" Sparks Outcy from Women's Group

By: Val Thompson Email
By: Val Thompson Email

August 19, 2013

The Charlottesville chapter of the National Organization for Women is trying to get the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors to commit to examining women's discrimination.

Last week the board rejected a proclamation that would have celebrated "Women's Equality Day" on August 26, the anniversary of the date women were granted the right to vote in 1920.

"This is just Looney Tunes," said Kobby Hoffman, the President of Charlottesville NOW.

The Charlottesville City Council is scheduled to vote on the same proclamation Monday night. Council member Kristin Szakos is confident it will pass.

"We do have a city council that has a majority of women," Szakos said.

But the Albemarle Board of Supervisors is majority men, four of which voted against the proclamation last week. Rodney Thomas said he didn't like the proclamation because it was redundant.

"I wanted a proclamation or a resolution that meant something," said Duane Snow, another supervisor who voted against the proclamation. "Why do something that's meaningless? Why not go ahead and if you're going to do it, put some emphasis into it and make it meaningful?"

Hoffman has an idea for the board to make it more meaningful. She's calling for a resolution that would demonstrate how women still face discrimination.

"Why don't we do a scientifically-defensible survey," Hoffman said. "Then you'd know what we're dealing with."

Snow admits that discrimination still exists. He says he would be in favor of a resolution that focuses on pay inequality between men and women.

"We fully support the rights for women to choose where they work and receive equal pay for the work they do," Snow said.

Szakos says women face more discrimination than just lower paychecks.

"Being passed over for jobs because an employer might think, 'Oh, she's just going to get pregnant and leave,'" Szakos said.

Szakos and Hoffman reject Snow's argument that these proclamations are meaningless. They say, sometimes state and federal lawmakers pay attention to these proclamations and vote accordingly.

And Szakos says, they don't take a lot of time.

"I think it will probably take us about three minutes to discuss this (Monday night)," she said.

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