Women’s Equality Day: 90 Years of American Women Voters

by subterfusex
19th Amendment

Image via Wikipedia

On August 26th, 1920 an amendment was made to the US Constitution. It read:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Two little sentences granting women the right to vote, and it took decades to make it happen.

In 1971, a resolution was passed to make today Women’s Equality Day, celebrating this hard-won achievement.

Joint Resolution of Congress, 1971 Designating August 26th of each year as Women’s Equality Day

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 26th, 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 26th 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.

The proclamation is far more moving that the amendment. Congress actually admitted that women had been treated unfairly, and stated that women should be supported in their efforts–all efforts.

How awesome is that?

Susan B. Anthony called suffrage the “pivotal right,” the key to achieving all other advances for women. She knew that change depended on the ability of women to vote, and to hold office.

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people – women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government – the ballot.

So, take a moment to think about your right to vote, and what has been made possible by the tireless work of the women who went before us.

And say, Well done!

3 Comments to “Women’s Equality Day: 90 Years of American Women Voters”

  1. Great post to commemorate this very important event in our history. 🙂 And, I love the Sister Suffragette song from the Mary Poppins movie. 🙂 It was perfect for obvious reasons.

    • I’ve realized that that song actually meant something to me when I was a kid! I love the lyrics, and I love her enthusiasm.

      So, the next time someone complains about exposing kids to things, well, I’ll have to tell them they’re right! These things do make an impact!

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