National Women's Equality Day celebrates women's suffrage, which was ratified in 1920 with the 19th Amendment.
"102 years later, we have a woman serving as Vice President in the White House," Dr. Angie Fitzpatrick, the director of the University of Toledo Eberly Center for Women, said. "We can see the gender wage gap is decreasing, women are outpacing men in education. However, we've also seen a rollback of some of our rights. We know that there are still ways in which the U.S. is not equitable with other industrialized nations."
One of those rollbacks is the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24.
Fitzpatrick said Women's Equality Day in 2022, it feels like the country going backward in history. That's why this year's theme is "Stay Furious, Build Power."
Mary Brucker, a spokeswoman for Women of Toledo, said joining forces and spreading awareness is important.
"To, speak, to educate. And that's what Women of Toledo is all about," she said. "I love this group because we've got single moms who are struggling, then we also have people who own Fortune 500 companies in this room."
Brucker said the variety of backgrounds is empowering and facilitates collaboration.
"It's not just a post on social media," she said. "It's not just a picture or what you have in this room. It's what you learn in this room. You collaborate together and you take it out and you make a difference. That's how things change."
Fitzpatrick said coming together, all with different beliefs but sharing stories and listening to one another, is vital to forward progress.
"I think that's really going to be the key," she said. "Finding the spaces where we hold common ground and then working together from there. And not settling for less than what we truly deserve."