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Women's Equality Day

August 26

August 26 of each year is designated in the United States as Women's Equality Day. Instituted by Rep. Bella Abzug and first established in 1971, the date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave U.S. women full voting rights in 1920.

Intro

In 1973, Congresswoman Bella Abzug helped establish Women's Equality Day to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, which gave women in the United States full voting rights.

What is suffrage?

Suffrage is the right to vote in a political election. Prior to the 19th Amendment in 1920, women in the United States did not have the right to vote. Hence, someone who peacefully campaigned for equal rights for women was known as a suffragist.

The development of the 19th century suffragist movement can be seen to begin when women began to be able to pray aloud in church. It also grew out of the Abolitionist (anti-slavery) movement. Suffragism and Abolitionism had a close and complicated history.   

Many suffragist women political and intellectual leaders came out of the Abolitionist (anti-slavery) movement, as they were allowed to speak publicly in these circles in the 1830s.

1848 | The Seneca Falls Convention 


Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton organize the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848

Lucretia Mott was a powerful orator, and drew crowds; Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Ann M'Clintock were more of the behind-the-scenes organizers of the first convention devoted to women's rights.

Mott wrote a "Declaration of Sentiments" based on the Declaration of Independence, and a resolution to fight for women's causes--which controversially included the women's right to vote. As we will see, Frederick Douglass played a key role in ensuring women's right to vote remained in the resolution.

Lucretia Mott (1793-1880)

By: hailey pantoja

"Eight years later in Seneca Falls, New York, Mott and Stanton, along with Mott's younger sister, Martha Coffin Wright, fulfilled the pledge they had made to each other in London and held the first woman's rights convention in America.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)

By: Kerri from Fredericksburg
Elizabeth Cady Stanton met Susan B. Anthony, another Woman’s Rights Activist, and they became close friends and worked as a team, to change the world for women. In 1848, with the help of Stanton and Anthony, the Married Woman’s Property Act of New York was passed. This act allowed women to be able to have custody of their children, hold property, make contracts, keep their own earnings and inheritance, and sue in court.

Elizabeth Stanton, Carrie C. Catt, Lucretia Mott Stamp

By: United States Post Office

This 1948 stamp was issued on the 100th anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, and shows (L-R) Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Lucretia Mott.

The Seneca Falls Convention was an historical turning point, marking the beginning of a national movement for women's rights in the United States. 

Suffragists continued to challenge the cultural ideas of a woman's role in society and the family, while lobbying the US government to enshrine women's rights in law. 

1866 | Frances Ellen Watkins Harper demands the right to vote for black women


Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911)

By: Geeta Malik

Frances Ellen Watkins was a prolific author, poet, abolitionist and suffragist. In 1866, at the National Women's Rights Convention, she demanded equal rights for all, including Black women. She helped found the National Association of Colored Women

1878 | The 19th Amendment is introduced in Congress


The 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote was introduced into Congress in 1878 by Congressman Arthur Sargent. It was nicknamed the "Anthony Amendment," after suffragist Susan B. Anthony.

Susan B Anthony- by artist Robert Shetterly as part of his courageous series of Americans Who Tell the Truth portraits

By: Robert Shetterly

1916 | The National Women's Party is Established


1916 | Lucy Burns and Alice Paul establish the National Woman's Party (NWP) in 1916

Burns and Paul met in England and become lifelong friends, fighting for women's rights. They had disagreements with the NAWSA, and created their own party.

The National Women's Party was considered a more radical suffragist group. They wanted to bring the militant tactics of the British suffragettes to the US by staging protests, rather than just petitioning Congress to pass the 19th Amendment.

Alice Paul (1885-1977)

By: Emma from San Diego

Alice Paul was a suffragist and leader for the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. She picketted the White House and organized boycotts.

Lucy Burns (1879-1966)

By: Dominique Canlas from Brea
Lucy Burns had spent more time in prison then any other women's activist at the time. Burns was ridiculed and yelled at because of her actions, but she stayed firm to her beliefs and ignored all the negativity.

Inez Milholland Boissevain was an iconic member of the National Women's Party

Inez Milholland Boissevain

By: unknown

Dressed like Joan of Arc on a white horse, Inez Milholland Boissevain, a New York attorney, led a group of women all dressed in white. Here she is on horseback at the Women's Equality March in Washington D.C., 1913

Inez Milholland ~ Forward into Light

This short documentary is a window into the Women's Suffrage Movement through the sacrifice of an American Amazon who will inspire today’s woman as much as she did 100 years ago.

Nannie Burroughs and African American Suffragists


Nannie Helen Burroughs

By: St George Thompson

Nannie Burroughs [holding banner 'Banner State Woman's National Baptist Convention' ] and African-American women [between 1905 and 1915].

Nannie Helen Burroughs
Credit: Library of Congress Public Domain

1917 | Jeanette Rankin Opens the first House Debate on Women's Right to Vote


Jeanette Rankin, first US Congresswoman

Rankin was part of the successful effort to give women the right to vote in her home state of Montana, which was passed in 1914. In 1917, when she became a member of Congress, she helped create the Committee on Woman Suffrage and was on the special committee. This committee reported out the 19th Amendment for women's suffrage. Rankin was able to get this on the House Floor for a debate in 1918, the first time it was ever debated. It did not pass, however, until 1920.

Jeannette Rankin

By: Sriya Mupparaju

Jeanette Rankin, the first Congresswoman, fought for suffrage, equal pay, child welfare, laws to protect working women, and birth control and introduced the first debate on unrestricted voting rights to women. 

Votes For Women - Jeannette Rankin

By: unknown photographer

Photo

Jeannette Rankin (1880 - 1973)

By: Robert Shetterly
Jeannette Rankin was the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress. She helped pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, and was a committed pacifist.

1920 | Ratification of the 19th Amendment


1920 | Adoption of the 19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920 and stated: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

1970 | National Women's Equality Day is Established to Commemorate the Ratification of the 19th Amendment


1971 | Rep. Bella Abzug establishes Women's Equality Day 

Abzug was a leader of the Second Wave Feminist movement that started in the 1960s. As a Congresswoman, she established Women's Equality Day. Women's Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment -- the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution --  on August 26, 1920, which gave U.S. women full voting rights.

Bella Abzug (1920-1988)

By: Kruti from New Jersey

Bella Abzug was a New York Congresswoman who fought for women's rights and instituted Women's Equality Day.



From the MY HERO Library


Sojourner Truth: Ain''t I a Woman?

By: Patricia C. McKissack, With Fredrick L. McKissack
Synopsis In 1797, a slave named Isabe...

Brighter Coming Day: A Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Reader

By: Frances Smith Foster (Editor), Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was the best known a...

The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull

By: Lois Beachy Underhill, Gloria Steinem (Introduction)
From the Publisher This biography of ...

Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull

By: Barbara Goldsmith
From the Publisher This is history at...

Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

By: Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns
From the Publisher Elizabeth Cady Sta...

Susan B. Anthony: Champion of Women''s Rights (Childhood of Famous Americans Series.)

By: Helen Albee Monsell
Annotation Focuses on the childhood o...

Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words

By: Lynn Sherr
Synopsis Juxtaposed with contemporary...

Herstory: Women Who Changed the World

By: Ruth Ashby (Editor), Deborah Gore Ohrn (Editor), Gloria Steinem (Introductio...
Synopsis Philosopher, mathematician, ...

Related Pages


Check out our timeline of the many heroes who helped bring about women's equality, including: the Grimké sisters, Margaret Fullers, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony , Harriet Tubman, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Victoria Woodhull, Lucy Burns and Alice Paul, Inez Milholland Boissevain, Jeanette Rankin, and Bella Abzug!

Expanded Timeline of the History of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment

External Links


Promotes Women’s History and is committed to the goals of education, empowerment, equality, and inclusion. 

National Women's History Alliance: Women's Quality Day


Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom



Organizer created on 8/16/2012 5:20:48 PM by Becky Miller

Last edited 7/29/2019 3:19:42 PM by Xenia Shin

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