Women’s Equality Day is a day which falls annually on August 26th and originally commemorated the right of women to vote, as well as the idea of equality between men and women. While this holiday still celebrates women being able to vote, today it has grown to mean so much more. This holiday also celebrates all of the women’s organizations all over the country work hard to provide women with equal opportunities in education and employment.
History of Women’s Equality Day
The movement for women’s suffrage started right before the Civil War in the United States. By the 1830s, most of the states in the U.S have extended voting rights from just rich, white, male property owners to just white men – regardless of how much property they owned. During this time, a variety of civil rights movements sprung up all across the United States. These movements included anti-slavery movements, temperance movements, and moral reformation movements. At the heart of all of these, women played a crucial role. However, many women were still imprisoned by the American ideal of the time that true women were pious and obedient.
In 1848, a group of abolitionists gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to talk about the problem of women’s rights. This group – which was mainly women but did have a few men in it as well – decided that American women were their own individuals who deserved their own political identities and weren’t merely extensions of their husbands or fathers. Over the next few years, this movement would continue to grow stronger and stronger. However, it began to once again lose momentum when the Civil War began. It momentarily took a back seat to the anti-slavery movements of the time. During the 1890s, the National American Woman Suffrage Association emerged and was headed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Before the end of the decade, Idaho and Utah had given women the right to vote.
In 1910, some of the other Western states began to give women the right to vote. However, many of the Eastern and Southern states refused to extend women the right to vote. Unfortunately, it would take until August 26th, 1920 before the 19th Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, thereby giving women the right to vote. Fifty-one years later, in 1971, Rep. Bella Abzug would submit to the U.S. Congress a bill that would designate August 26th as Women’s Equality Day. Every year since then, the U.S President has honored the day with an Official Proclamation.
Women’s Equality Day Custom’s & Traditions
Today, Women’s Equality Day can be celebrated by remembering by remembering the women who have fought for women’s equality or by visiting one of the museum exhibitions dedicated to this subject. The day can also be celebrated by supporting bills that have an impact on women. Or on this day, women can just register to vote – which is one of the most perfect ways to celebrate Women’s Equality Day.