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Women's Equality Day 2021: History and Significance

Today, women's equality entails far more than simply having the right to vote. (Representational Image)

Today, women's equality entails far more than simply having the right to vote. (Representational Image)

Women's Equality Day not only honours the 19th Amendment's passage, but also draws attention to women's ongoing struggles towards gaining full equality

The United States is commemorating the 101st year of Women’s Equality Day. On August 26, the day is largely commemorated in the United States to honour American women gaining the constitutional right to vote. The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1920. The legislation makes it illegal to deny citizens of the United States the right to vote based on their gender.

History of Women’s Equality Day

The United States Congress established August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” in 1971, at the request of Rep. Bella Abzug, and it was approved in 1973. It is declared by the President of the United States every year. President Richard Nixon issued the first official proclamation. Since then, every US president has made a proclamation establishing this day. The date was chosen to honour the 1920 approval of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

This was the conclusion of a vast, nonviolent civil rights campaign led by women, which began in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights conference in Seneca Falls, New York.

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Significance of Women’s Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day not only honours the 19th Amendment’s passage, but also draws attention to women’s ongoing struggles towards gaining full equality.

Over the last century, great women have proven the traditional stereotypes wrong by demonstrating to the world what women are capable of doing, from Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt fighting for civil rights and equality to brilliant scientists like Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, and Jane Goodall. The previous century has shown more than ever before what both men and women are capable of doing when given the opportunity.

Today, women’s equality entails far more than simply having the right to vote. Organizations such as Equality Now and Womankind Worldwide continue to work to provide women all over the world with equal access to education and employment, as well as to combat the suppression and violence directed at women, as well as the discrimination and stereotyping that still exist in every society.

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first published:August 26, 2021, 09:03 IST