Did you know August 26 is Women’s Equality Day?
But wait, wasn’t August 18 the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment?
That’s correct! So what is Women’s Equality Day? Quick government/history lesson:
- August 18, 1920, is the date the 19th Amendment was ratified, this means 36 states (the 3/4 required) approved of the change of legislation.*
*An amendment, however, is not official until it’s been certified.
- August 26, 1920, US Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby, certified the amendment as correct in the privacy of his home. No fanfare, no celebrations to commemorate this historic moment.*
*Fun fact: After certification, many states went back to ratify the 19th Amendment. The last to do so was Mississippi, who held out until March 22, 1984. These subsequent and delayed ratifications did not prevent the new legislation from being enacted.
- 1965, 45 years after the passing of the 19th Amendment, Black women, obtained the right to vote following the Civil Rights Movement and the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- August 26, 1970, on the 50th Anniversary of 19th Amendment passing, Betty Friedan spearheaded the Women’s Strike for Equality with three goals: free abortion on demand, equal opportunity in the workforce, and free childcare.
- 1972, Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York lobbied for a resolution to designate August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.
- August 26, 1973, President Richard Nixon signs the first official proclamation for Women’s Equality Day, which states, among other things, that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.”
Every President since Nixon has issued a Women’s Equality Day proclamation, including President Trump.
Looking at this timeline, it seems that 100 years later we are still fighting for many of the same things, but we still have the right to vote. We must honor the women that came before us and empower the women that will come after us by exercising our right to vote. Vote in local elections, vote in state primaries, and most importantly, vote November 3rd, 2020.