Passing the Torch Recap

Passing the Torch Logo"Nothing can get in the way of a determined group of women," said Jennifer Siebel Newsom, First Partner of California and renowned filmmaker of the documentaries Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In. Siebel delivered the introductory remarks kicking-off Passing the Torch, 100 Years of HERstory, a special production celebrating the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote. 

Despite the pandemic requiring the event be changed from an in-person fundraiser, to a virtually attended video production, Newsom reminded the Financial Women of San Francisco how important it is to celebrate these achievements because "across the globe research shows that when you empower women with access to education, economic opportunities and decision making, whole families and communities are lifted up."

Financial Women of San Francisco hosted two virtual events in August for the 100-year celebration of the passing of the 19th Amendment, the first major step in giving all women the right to vote. The first event, on August 18th, the 100-year anniversary of the date the Amendment was signed, was exclusively for FWSF members, as the idea for this celebration was conceived by FWSF members, Michelle Alberda, and Kristen Taylor, who worked tirelessly and led a team over the course of an entire year to produce the “Passing the Torch” film and event for our celebration.

The second event was held on August 26th, the 100-year anniversary of when the Amendment was officially ratified.

These events premiered the "Passing the Torch: 100 Years of HERstory" film, an original 15-minute video that shared the “herstory” of the suffrage and women’s equality movement, from its beginnings stemming from indigenous traditions of gender equality going back 1,000 years, to the non-violent 75-year campaign of the Suffragettes, and the follow-through after the passing of the 19th Amendment by women activists to ensure the right to vote for all women. 

BELOW IS THE TRAILER! Watch the full event here.

As the torch gets passed from generation to generation of women, each set their sights even further. To this end, the film showcased women who have been "firsts" in their respective fields. Among those featured were Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in Congress, and Katherine Graham, who became the first female CEO and led the Washington Post through the Watergate scandal, among many other notable women.

In the fight for equal rights for women, it is crucial to know women’s history to know where women are headed. The film shares the highlights of the equal rights movement for women, including where they stand now.  As Kamala Harris, politician, attorney, and the Democratic vice presidential nominee, (herself a lady of many firsts) said, "Since 1963 when we passed the Equal Pay Act, we have been talking about the fact that women have not been paid equally for equal work. Fast forward to the year of our Lord 2019, and women are paid 80 cents on the dollar, black woman 61 cents, Native American women 58 cents, and Latinas, 53 cents.”

There were speaking panels after the film, which touched upon topics important to women, like the Equal Pay Act (it is still not fully ratified across the U.S.!), what women can do to support and become leaders in their communities, businesses, and government, and the significance of investing in women-owned and women-run businesses (venture capital investments to women-owned businesses still lag far behind investments given to male-owned businesses). 

The need to get men involved in the women’s equality movement is imperative and this was echoed by more than one speaker.  There is a “silent majority” of men who believe women should have equal rights – and yet, women still do not have equal pay. Motivating and inspiring men to fight for women’s equal rights only helps women achieve more success.

The panel concluded with information on how to vote and be counted in this year’s census, and how vital it is that women vote and value the sacrifices the Suffragettes made over a span of 75 years to get the 19th Amendment signed into law. All panelists agree, women cannot wait another hundred years for equal rights to materialize. Women and men must join forces now and work together towards that end.

The events concluded with an inspiring declaration from Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf, who honored the “bold, brave, and powerful women” whose successful historic non-violent campaign of 75 years culminated in the passing and certification of the 19th Amendment, by proclaiming August 26th as Women’s Equality Day.

FWSF promotes, supports, and mentors women in the world of finance and financial services. Over a period of 30 years, FWSF has awarded over $2.6 million to more than 300 Bay Area women. Additionally, FWSF offers mentorship programs, virtual events, and networking opportunities that lead, inspire, and educate women as they navigate their careers.  

All this is made possible by the FWSF Endowment Fund, a long-term investment vehicle that funds the scholarships FWSF gives each year to deserving Bay Area women studying finance. It’s one of the most important ways that FWSF champions women in the world of financial services. The Passing the Torch events were meant to serve as fundraisers for this Endowment Fund.

There’s still time to support the FWSF Endowment Fund. Every gift enables FWSF to support the educational aspirations of talented young women in the Bay Area. As the endowment grows, so does the number of scholarships FWSF can fund. Please consider a tax-deductible donation.

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