NATIONAL WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY
The United States Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women full and equal voting rights on this day in 1920. Every year on August 26, we commemorate this right with National Women’s Equality Day.
Seeds were planted for the women’s rights movement 80 years before when Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Staton, while in London at the World Anti-Slavery Convention, were denied access to the convention floor. Once back in The United States, along with Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt, the women set in motion plans for the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Held at Wesleyan Chapel on July 19-20, 1848, the conference drew 200 women the first day. On the second day, the convention was opened to men, and some did attend.
Resolved, that it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise. ~ 9th Resolution of the Seneca Falls Convention 1848
During the convention, 12 resolutions were presented. These resolutions enumerated the rights of that women should be equal to men socially, economically, legally and representatively. Of the resolutions, all but the 9th were approved unanimously. It was the right to vote that many women felt would cause many of their backers to withdraw their support. However, after much debate and the support of Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the 9th resolution too passed.
Woman’s suffrage would have its beginnings. Another advocate, Susan B. Anthony, joined Stanton in 1869 in creating the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Through nearly ten years of persistence and lobbying, the NWSA introduced an amendment in 1878 and after years of debate, to the floor of Congress in 1886, only to be defeated. It would take another 34 years, passing of batons, states entering the union with constitutions including the woman’s right to vote and civil disobedience for an amendment to be introduced and passed by Congress.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Learn more about the women’s civil rights movement and the 19th amendment. Use #WomensEqualityDay to post on social media.
By a joint resolution of Congress on August 26, 1971, the first Women’s Equality Day was Celebrated. Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) sponsored the resolution and every year since each president declares this day as Women’s Equality Day commemorating the certification of the 19th Amendment to The United States Constitution.
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