Before August passes by, we want to honor and celebrate 101 years of women’s right to vote. As you probably know, this all started back on June 4, 1919 when the language for a 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed by Congress. The next step was for the amendment to be ratified by 36 state legislatures.
Nobody “Gave” Women the Right to Vote
But Not All Women
The 19th amendment prohibited states from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex. It said nothing about Jim Crow laws in effect at the time that denied African Americans, both males and females, the right to vote for a number of reasons. So while white women could vote beginning in late 1920, many Black American females could not vote until after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Let’s Also Celebrate 50 Years of Women’s Equality Day
Who Called for Women’s Equality Day?
If you are old enough, you may recall the name of Bella Abzug from New York. She was known as a no-nonsense women who was fierce in defending her beliefs. She was often called “Battling Bella”. Bella was known for always wearing a large hat. It was her signature look. But when the Sergeant at Arms of the US House of Representatives asked Bella to remove her hat, she did. Her supporters could not believe this and asked her why? She replied, “I choose my battles.”
We have Women’s Equality Day thanks to Congresswoman Bella Abzug. She introduced a resolution to designate August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. Nixon was the first president to issue a proclamation to declare August 26 Women’s Equality Day. Nixon wrote in his proclamation:
“The struggle for women’s suffrage, however, was only the first step toward full and equal participation of women in our Nation’s life. In recent years, we have made other giant strides by attacking sex discrimination through our laws and by paving new avenues to equal economic opportunity for women. Today, in virtually every sector of our society, women are making important contributions to the quality of American life. And yet, much still remains to be done”.
And that was 1972. There have been setbacks as well as steps forward since then. But all of us can make a difference — both in our own lives as well as in the lives of others.
Rosie the Riveter and Wendy the Welder are Also Beneficiaries of the Suffrage Movement
During WW2, we saw so many women excel. For example, Rosie the Riveter is a product of the suffragists. She accomplished so much to support the war effort, knowing her actions of courage and strength were made possible by her role in civilian life.
Don’t forget Wendy the Welder. She’s another woman who showed empowerment through her work in shipyards and aircraft factories.
These, of course, are only two of the millions of CAN DO women who inspire us every day to reach our potential.
YES! You Are Also a Beneficiary of the Suffrage Movement
Please, take a moment out of your busy day to thank the suffragists who fought for your right to vote. And then reflect on you own accomplishments.