Women’s Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day is a day that 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 across the country that 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 states in the U.S. had extended voting rights from just rich, white, male property owners to all white men – regardless of how much property they owned.

During this time, a variety of civil rights movements sprang up across the United States. These movements included anti-slavery movements, temperance movements, and moral reformation movements. At the heart of all 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 include a few men – 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 continued to grow stronger.

However, it began to lose momentum once again 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 submitted a bill to the U.S. Congress 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 Customs & Traditions

Today, Women’s Equality Day can be celebrated 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 impact women. Or on this day, women can simply register to vote – which is one of the most perfect ways to celebrate Women’s Equality Day.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 26 Monday
Next year (2025)
August 26 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
August 26 Saturday