Today, 96 years ago, women in the US were finally granted the right to vote when the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. This was a process began 42 earlier, in 1878, by¬†Senator Aaron A. Sargent. And despite¬†challenges to the law like¬†Leser v. Garnett, the changes stood, and women maintain¬†the right to vote in the United States.
To celebrate and honor this right, Women’s Equality Day has been observed every year¬†since 1972. The previous year, Bella Abzug¬†introduced a¬†resolution in Congress:
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex;
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26, the anniversary date of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and
WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26 of each year is designated as “Women’s Equality Day,” and 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.
Though we can very much argue that women are still not equal, what with pay inequality and the debate over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s pantsuit as opposed to her stance on the issues, it is still important to remember that it was only 96 years ago that women were finally granted the right to vote in the United States. We had earned that right well before, as far back as 1776, but deserving something is not the same as being able to do something.
And lest we lose our hard-fought rights, anyone‚Äìmale or female‚Äìwho is eligible but unregistered to vote, should celebrate August 26th by registering to vote. If you already are registered, please consider helping someone else become registered to vote. It is only by exercising our rights that we are able to keep them.
Social Media Manager
Girl Museum Inc.