Women’s Equality Day, August 26, is a celebration that started in 1971. It is a day to remember the signing of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Ratified on August 26, 1920, the amendment officially recognized women’s right to vote.
The nineteenth Amendment did not automatically give every woman in the United States the right to vote. Women of color, immigrants, women convicted of a crime, and lower income women were often prevented from voting by laws and social pressure. Native American women were not considered U.S. citizens until 1924 and were not permitted to vote.
Through the years, other legislation was passed that promoted equality for women. The Equal Pay Act in 1963 made it illegal to pay a woman less for doing the same job as a man. In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act which prohibited employers from discriminating against an individual based on their race or gender.
This year’s theme for Women’s Equality Day, #Choose to Challenge, asks people to call out gender bias and inequality when seen. The day will be celebrated with luncheons, keynote speakers, gatherings, and auctions to raise money for voter education.