Photo: Media from Wix
On August 26 of every year, the United States of America celebrates Women's Equality Day as a reminder that there needs to be no prejudice regarding a person's sex.
While that may sound simple and obvious, the reality was quite different for much of our history. Women did not have the right to vote until the early 20th century. The protection of women's rights soon followed the right to suffrage to equal work as men, but it all began with the passing of the nineteenth amendment of the US Constitution in 1920.
How it Came About
Amendment XIX was signed by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby and adopted in August 1920. It declared that the United States would not deny anyone the right to vote based on sex. The passing of the amendment immediately enfranchised millions of women who previously had no say in their country's politics or administration.
Women could now enter the country's politics as equal citizens, with their votes having just as much of a say in the country's matters as their male counterparts. However, this was not the conclusion to women's fight for equal standing in politics and society.
In 1970, US women once took to the streets for a nationwide Women's Strike for Equality. The following year, Congresswoman Bella Abzug introduced a national resolution to observe August 26 as Women's Equality Day nationally. Thus, 1971 was the first year this day was celebrated. However, it did not become an official practice until two years later.
1973, Congresswoman Abzug introduced the resolution following continued protests and legal battles concerning the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States. In 1972, President Richard Nixon passed an official order to make August 26, 1972, the National Women's Equality Day. In 1973, the order was accepted by the US Congress, and the day was observed on August 26.
Women's Equality Day is proclaimed annually by the US President and is practiced throughout the country. Those observing it shed light on the long struggle women had to face to get equal voting rights to men.
Furthermore, the day is also used to highlight women's continued prejudice and inequality daily in modern society. The nineteenth amendment serves as a reminder that it took far too long for the US to think of women as equal citizens, but they realized their error and tried to correct it.
Similarly, there is much more to do regarding equality in the modern world. The Women's Equality Day observed each year by the US is one small step towards achieving that necessary goal.