Women’s Equality Day

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Women's Equality Day

Every year, August 26th is celebrated as Women’s Equality Day. The year 2020-2021 marked the 100th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day in the United States. The day is observed to commemorate American women getting the constitutional right to vote. The constitutional right to vote was guaranteed to women in the USA with the coming of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was made in 1920. The basis of the law is to ensure no citizen is denied the right to vote on the basis of gender. Lets’ celebrate this joyous occasion of Women’s Equality Day by learning more about it and actively working towards making the world a more egalitarian place!

YouTube: NBC News

History of Women’s Equality Day

Source: People’s World

August 26th is celebrated as Women’s Equality Day every year to mark the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution that granted voting rights to women. Women’s Equality Day was first observed in 1972. Every year it is proclaimed by the President of the United States. The first President to issue the proclamation was Richard Nixon and since then, it has been the duty of every US president to issue a proclamation that designates August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

Women's Equality Day
Source: National Women’s History Museum

A proclamation made by Former US President, Barack Obama read, “Nearly one century ago, with boundless courage and relentless commitment, dedicated women who had marched, advocated, and organized for the right to cast a vote finally saw their efforts rewarded on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was certified and the right to vote was secured. In the decades that followed, that precious right has bolstered generations of women and empowered them to stand up, speak out, and steer the country they love in a more equal direction.” 

“We are struggling for a uniting word, but the good news is that we have a uniting movement.”
-Emma Watson

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Significance of Women’s Equality Day

YouTube: TIME

The day is celebrated not only to highlight the importance of women in the political sphere. For a long time, women were kept away from political life as it was believed they are made for managing the household and this led to a demand for requisite political rights and representation for women in the US. By the early 20th century, other countries like Finland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom had made it legal to vote for women and it was through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that voting rights to women were first introduced in 1878 in the US. However, it failed to gain traction at that point in time. It was only when women started participating in World War I, that their efforts and contributions truly came to light and the women’s suffrage movement began gaining support. Hence, this day is observed every year to highlight the importance of women’s involvement in the political arena and also as a day of equality between the genders. 

 “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”
— B. R. Ambedkar

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Celebrations Across USA and the World

Source: 5Factum

To commemorate the granting of the constitutional right of voting to women, strikes, protests and public rallies are organized to further the efforts marked by this day.  To celebrate this day women were called on to demonstrate for equal rights and participate in a nationwide ‘strike for equality. Seminars, workshops are organized by various women’s organizations to address the issues and problems faced by women in the country. Additionally, in schools and colleges, lectures are organized to educate students about the struggle and difficult journey that women faced to gain the right to vote.

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How Can You Show Solidarity?

To show solidarity on this day, there are certain things you can do –

  1. Internationally, purple is a colour symbolizing women’s equality which has originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK in 1908 and signifies justice and dignity.
  2. You may get a purple rubber or latex band and wear it on your wrist.
  3. You might also wear a plain purple top or T-shirt with a ‘women empowerment’ quote on it. 
  4. One of the easiest ways to show solidarity is by tying a purple ribbon on your arm or wrist or wearing a purple scarf around your neck or on your head
  5. Attend virtual conferences and seminars by US universities, women organisations and rights groups.
  6. Find books on change-makers and suffragists to fight gender equality in the world. Books like Second Sex, The Color Purple and The Persistence of Gender Inequality are some of the best books on gender injustice and inequality.

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This was all about Women’s Equality Day. Hope you found this blog to be informative and insightful. For more such content, stay connected with Leverage Edu!

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