The History of Women’s Equality Day
At the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971 and passed in 1973, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 certification 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 rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York. 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, organizations, and public facilities now participate with Women’s Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities.
Women’s Equality Day, observed annually on August 26, marks a global recognition of the ongoing struggle for equal rights and opportunities for women. It serves as a tribute to the universal suffrage movement, celebrates women’s advancements, and reinforces the commitment to gender equality.
The theme for Women’s Equality Day 2023 is “Embrace Equity,” echoing through the strategic plan spanning from 2021 to 2026. This theme underscores the importance of achieving gender equality, not just for economic growth, but also as a fundamental human right.