In 1920, the 19th Amendment was adopted to the U.S. constitution to prohibit the federal government from denying citizens their right to vote based on their gender.
The U.S. Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day in 1973 in order to commemorate the 19thamendment. Today, Women’s Equality Day reminds us of the framework women activists in history have laid down for us and the work that still needs to be done.
History on Women’s Equality Day
In 1973, August 26th was named Women’s Equality Day by the U.S. Congress. However, the foundation of this historic day was created more than 100 years prior.
A group of activists in Seneca Falls, NY came together to discuss women’s rights. During this time, we know it was especially hard for women who did not have the right to vote, could not own property or their own bank accounts, nor did they receive equal pay for the same jobs as men.
At this meeting, they discussed how women deserve political power, liberty, and many other things along with the right to vote. The meeting became known as the Seneca Falls Convention organized by suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.
This led to the women’s rights movement that gained steam during the begin of the Civil War. When the 14thamendment was passed, granting black men the right to vote, women’s suffrage activists believed it was their chance to put pressure on the government to include women in universal voting rights.
Shortly after the civil war ended, the National Woman Suffrage Movement was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, which pushed the movement further when they fought for a universal suffrage amendment to be passed to the U.S. constitution. It soon became the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890.
World War I had slowed down the momentum of the movement, but still kept the conversation going with the incredible work women were doing for the benefit of the war effort.
Eventually in August of 1920, U.S. Congress passed the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.
How to Celebrate
1. Support women owned businesses: Find women entrepreneurs in your area to support. Buy their products, use their services, a simple shout out on social media can go a long way.
2. Register to vote: Honor the sacrifices women in the past have had to make for the right to vote. Make sure to register to vote and are up to date on how to send in your mail-in ballot.
3. Brush up on your women’s history: Learn more about the advancements women have made in history in the U.S. and worldwide. Read a historical book such as, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All by Martha S. Jones or an inspiring autobiography like, Becoming by Michelle Obama.
4. Do something special for the women in your life: Show your moms, friends, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, etc. that you appreciate them and all that they go through.
We still should note that despite this achievement, many black women were denied the right to vote until 1964. The women’s suffrage movement fueled new voting rights movements for black women nonetheless.
Although we have made many advancements for women, we still have much more progress to make. We still face lesser pay wages, pink tax, domestic violence, sexual harassment and the list goes on. We should take this day as an opportunity to learn more women’s history and the rights that we have in the U.S. and in the world. Use this day to do something to empower another WOL boss not just for today, but every day after that.