In the United States, National Women’s Equality Day is celebrated annually on August 26 to commemorate the adoption in 1920 of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment prohibits the federal government and the states from denying citizens of the United States the right to vote on the basis of their sex. Below we take a look at the history behind the designation of August 26 as Women’s Equality Day and the anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving U.S. women the right to vote.
January 10, 1878
The Woman Suffrage Amendment was first introduced.
Resubmitted numerous times until finally approved by both the House and Senate. The bill must be approved by two-thirds of the states, so suffragists spent the next year lobbying state legislatures to gain support for the bill.
August 24, 1920
Tennessee became the 36th and final state to ratify the amendment; passed by one vote belonging to Harry Burn. His mother urged him to vote for suffrage.
August 26, 1920
Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the amendment into law
August 26, 1970
Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women NOW organized a nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality 50 years later. Bi-partisan women gathered to demand equal opportunities in employment and education, 24-hour childcare centers in gender equality protest in U.S. history. Demonstrations in more than 90 venues with more than 100,000 women, including 50,000 who marched down Fifth Avenue in NYC.
Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY) introduced a bill designating August 26 Women’s Equality Day as a symbol of equal rights fight and decreed that the President is authorized / requested to issue an annual proclamation commemorating women’s suffrage and the 1970 Strike for Equality.
5 IDEAS FOR CELEBRATING WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY FROM THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY ALLIANCE
- Download the annual Women’s Equality Day Brochure
- Visit the Women’s Rights and Women’s Equality Day Resources section
- Make history come alive with a special presentation or performance.
- Provide local school and community libraries with copies of Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Suffrage Movement.
- Sign the Women’s Equality Day petition to lobby for Women’s Equality Day to become a federal holiday.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She is a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business
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