Strength In Numbers: Event Commemorates Women’s Equality Day

By Allison Dunn
The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Several women discussed their different roles — as family members, entrepreneurs, politicians, authors, and members of the military — during an all-day gathering Saturday to honor the 98th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the United States on Aug. 26, 1920.

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

When a male co-worker asked Nicole Duhart why she was still employed at an area healthcare facility, she didn’t know how to answer.

Mrs. Duhart previously thought her company provided great sources of advancement, but the question made her think about other career options.

“I had been there 10 years, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, hadn’t really thought about what I wanted for myself outside of being a spouse and being a mother,” the mother of three told an audience Saturday during the Women’s Equality Day 2018 Celebration at the UAW Local 12 hall.

After “research, prayer, and a lot of self-reflection,” she opened three tax service locations in Toledo in 2003.

She said it was the right move for her because she needed structure as she balanced her other roles.

“We [women] wear many hats and it gets overwhelming. We can do it, but it does take the help and support of one another,” Mrs. Duhart said. “I had to learn it’s OK to ask for help because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business from three locations to 14 locations and I know as women we always think that we have to do it all.”

Several women discussed their different roles — as family members, entrepreneurs, politicians, authors, and members of the military — during an all-day gathering Saturday to honor the 98th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the United States on Aug. 26, 1920.

Women of different backgrounds and professions shared their perspectives throughout the day, which was given a national theme of “Nevertheless … She Persisted.”

“When you hear about the struggles that an individual woman is having, even though she is in a different segment, you still can relate to her and that is a reminder of how we’re still all in this together,” said Kristie Knighten, of KPK Events Unlimited, and one of the event’s organizers. “We should work together and support each other and remind each other we still have work to do.”

Some of that support was shown Saturday, while women held each others’ children as they spoke, exchanged phone numbers, or asked questions.

Following a poetry reading by Lena Banks, a Toledo-native best-selling author, one woman in the audience requested another reading about motivation.

Demetria Blackshear said she came to the event because equality is important to her. Ms. Blackshear is a UAW worker and president of the Envy’Us Ryders, an-all woman motorcycle club.

“We believe in women helping other women and helping out our community,” said Trish Fench, vice president of the motorcycle group, who attended Saturday’s event with Ms. Blackshear. “Whatever we can do to push or empower a woman or help out wherever we can — this right here is just one of the things.”

Michelle Radtkin, president of the American Association of University Women and one of the organizers of the event, said while Saturday’s event was more intimate, they’re preparing for a large-scale gathering in August 2020 to honor the 100th anniversary.

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