By U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class
DOHA, Qatar - At the request of Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971 the U.S. Congress designated Aug. 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. This was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s right convention, in Seneca Falls, N.Y. where over 300 women and men attended.
The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. Workplaces, libraries, organization, and public facilities now participate with Women’s Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities.
It was said that women of the United States had been treated as second-class citizens and had not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public and private, legal or institutional, which were available to male citizens of the United States; and that the women of the United States had united to assure that these rights and privileges were available to all citizens equally regardless of sex.
It had taken American women and their male supporters 72 years of ceaseless campaigning to win this basic democratic right, however there were western states that won their right to vote. In 2010, Washington State celebrated their 100 year anniversary, California celebrated their 100 year anniversary in 2011, Oregon celebrated their 100 year anniversary in 2012 as well as the state of Arizona.
Women’s Equality Day should be a bookmark for everyone around the nation as it is a tremendous milestone achieved. Let us continue to celebrate Women’s Equality Day in recognition as both the anniversary of suffrage and of women’s continued efforts toward equal rights in the United States.