Women’s Equality Day may not be the biggest holiday, nor is it one that is celebrated in a large way in the U.S., but it’s an important one to me as a female small business owner. I have always had the utmost respect for those early pioneers of equality, who risked everything to give me the freedoms that I enjoy today. I’d like to take a moment to teach you a little bit about Women’s Equality Day.
What Is Women’s Equality Day?
Women’s Equality Day is a holiday celebrated in the United States of America on the 26th of August. It commemorates the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which was adopted in 1920. This amendment prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to U.S. citizens on the basis of gender.
History Of The Holiday
The holiday was first celebrated in 1973 and has been proclaimed every year by the sitting president. August 26th was specifically chosen to commemorate the day that Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the proclamation granting women the right to vote.
Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York introduced a resolution to designate August 26th as Women’s Equality Day. On August 16th, 1973, Congress approved H.J. Res. 52, which officially designates August 26th as Women’s Equality Day and that the President is “authorized and requested to issue a proclamation in commemoration of that day in 1920 which the women in America were first granted the right to vote.”. That same day President Richard Nixon issued Proclamation 4236 for Women’s Equality Day. Every year since 1973, the sitting President has issued a proclamation designating August 26th as Women’s Equality Day.
In 2016 President Obama’s proclamation speech started with this phrase “Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of this hard won achievement and pay tribute to the trailblazers and suffragists who move us closer to a more just and prosperous future, we resolve to protect this constitutional right and pledge to continue fighting for equality for women and girls.”
Why Is Women’s Equality Day Important?
It’s important because even though we as women have come so far, we still have so far to go. For far to long, the history of women has been left out of the history books. Every year our history is making the news, and our accomplishments are finally being recognized. It is not an easy road, and it will take time, but holidays like Women’s Equality Day help keep that struggle fresh in the minds of men and women everywhere. Women’s stories matter, your stories matter, so share them and keep the spirit of the holiday alive.
How Can I Honor This Holiday?
I heard a quote recently, and I can’t remember where I heard it (so if you know who said it, let me know in the comments, because I want to give credit where it is due) and it really struck me. It goes “A women alone has power, but collectively we have impact”, and its true. So, when was the last time you banded together with another women and made an impact? It doesn’t have to be a world changing impact, but if I’ve inspired you to do so, by all means, change the world. Make a small but meaningful impact, help someone move forward with a project, share an inspiring or empowering blog post, support a local artisan… all of these things have an impact and can easily snowball into bigger and bigger positives.
- Go find a women that has inspired you, or empowered you and thank them.
- Read up on the history around women’s equality around the world.
- Light a candle in memory of the brave pioneers of women’s rights that came before
- Attend a local celebration or march honoring women (can’t find one in your area, then host one)
- Share your story
- Find another person and make an impact
- Volunteer somewhere that helps women
- Use social media to share your stories
Additional Holidays Honoring Women
- Rosa Parks Day (Feb 4 & Dec 1)
- National Girls and Women in Sports Day (one day during the first week of Feb)
- Susan B. Anthony Day (Feb 15)
- International Women’s Day (March 8) See my brief history of this holiday here for more information
- Harriet Tubman Day (March 10)
- Helen Keller Day (June 27)
For more information on the history of the holiday please see this website.
Take a moment and thank an inspiring women! I would love to hear your stories about inspiring women, please leave them in the comments section!
If you have any other topics you would like me to cover, please let me know!