Former US President Barack Obama once wrote in his proclamation for World Equality Day, “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.”
Now one might think what’s so special about 26 August, 1920.
August 26 is observed as World Equality Day. The day celebrates American women, who protested for a long time for their constitutional right to vote.
The fight for women rights is nothing new. It has been going on since decades when women were deprived of basic human rights.
Before the Civil War in the United States, the movement for women’s suffrage was started. In USA,most of the states had extended voting rights from rich white male property owners to just white men regardless of how much property they owned by 1830s.
Several civil rights movements like anti-slavery, moral movements, etc. spread across the country during this time. Women played a very crucial role in these movements
In 1848, a group of abolitionists gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to discuss about the rights of women. They decided that women also deserved their own political identities and the basic right to vote as they were not only extensions of husbands or fathers. But with due course of time, due to the anti-slavery movement, the women’s rights movement started losing momentum.
The twist came during the 1890s when the National American Woman Suffrage Association emerged, headed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Idaho and Utah had given women the right to vote before the end of the decades.
The women finally won one of the many long fights they were fighting.
The date 26 August was chosen to commemorate the day in 1920 when Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby finally signed the proclamation granting American women the constitutional right to vote. Interesting right?
This year, World Equality Day celebrates its 100th year after the 19th amendment of the Constitution that had denied voting citizens of the US on the basis of gender, was adopted in 1920.
Today, women’s equality means much more than just having the right to the vote. Organisations such as Girlup_UN and Bharat_Girlup continue to work to provide women across the globe with equal opportunities to education and employment, pushing against suppression and violence towards women and against the discrimination and stereotyping which still occur in every society.