Women’s equality, and especially the concept of feminism, have long been controversial topics. And although so much progress has been made, we still have a long way to go. So how will we know when we’ve “achieved” equality?

There is not one, correct definition of what women’s equality means, or how we will know once it has been achieved. So, today we are turning to some ACLU of Indiana staff, board members, and partners to get their take:

"For this woman, equality includes no longer being asked or expected to explain my presence in male-dominated spaces or my claim to a seat at the table."

- Stevie Pactor, Staff Attorney at ACLU of Indiana

"Women’s equality means I can live the life I want to live—that I can go as far as my talents and desires take me, without needing to overcome personal, professional or social barriers put in place to constrain my ambitions and/or thwart my life goals simply because I am female."

- Sheila Suess Kennedy, Professor of Law & Public Policy at IUPUI, and former ACLU of Indiana Executive Director

“Women’s equality must contain the understanding that womanhood looks a lot of ways. Black, brown, trans, immigrant, sex worker, disabled, homeless, incarcerated. It requires bravery and risk to our comfort on behalf of those most harmed by inequality. That’s something the women I admire know a lot about.”

- Kit Malone, Advocate and Educator at ACLU of Indiana

"My incredibly resilient mother has faced significant adversity in her life and discrimination as an immigrant woman of color in the Midwest. In my eyes, women’s equality means fighting for a future where women do not face the same struggles my mother had to face."

- Ashley Toruno, Community Engagement and Policy Advocate at ACLU of Indiana

"It means joining with others to work towards world-wide equality for all women and appreciating their struggles, sharing their triumphs, and mourning their losses."

- Sharon RussellACLU of Indiana Board Member


"For my 93 year old mother, equality would have meant that she wouldn’t have had to sue her employer after finding out that she was paid much less than men who were sitting at the next desks, doing the same job. For my older sisters, equality would have meant that the experiences available to them had not been dramatically fewer, just because they went to school before Title IX required equality in educational opportunities. For me, equality will mean that I can be confident that my daughter’s path in the world will be defined solely by her own choices, abilities, and hard work."

- Jane Henegar, Executive Director at ACLU of Indiana

"Women's equality means the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination that we may live our fullest lives and thrive in the wide-open world of opportunity. Women's equality, as stated by our great predecessor Sarah Grimke means 'I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.'"

- Dr. Caitlin Bernard, Plaintiff in ACLU of Indiana 2019 Reproductive Rights Lawsuit

"We will achieve equality when we can walk to our cars alone at night without fear, when we can go to the doctor without the threat of government intrusion, when we get paid as much as our male counterparts, and when we hold the same number of positions of power as men do."

- Katie Blair, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at ACLU of Indiana

Roxane Gay wrote, ‘I believe feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves.’ This portrays the humility that all people must adapt in order to achieve equality. We all lead very different lives, and come from different backgrounds, but we can work toward equality by respecting one another’s personal decisions.

- Ariella Sult, Director of Communications at ACLU of Indiana