When the 19th Amendment was certified on August 26, 1920, it granted women the right to vote. It was a triumph that was a long time coming. Most historians cite the first women’s rights conference at Seneca Falls in 1848 as the official start of the fight for women’s suffrage – where visionaries including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott set the tone.
In the 72 years between Seneca Falls and certification of the 19th amendment the battle continued – demonstrations were held, marches executed, speeches given, editorials written, and pamphlets distributed. In fact, the first picket lines ever at The White House were comprised of women’s suffrage sympathizers.
On the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment Certification, August 26, 1970, The National Organization for Women (NOW) organized a nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality. On this day, women came out in droves to support equal opportunity in employment, education, and child care. It was the largest gender equality protest in US history – in New York City alone, 50,000 women marched down Fifth Avenue. One year later in 1971, US Representative Bella Azbug of New York successfully introduced a bill designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.
It’s easy to take for granted the tireless efforts of generations who came before us, and hard to face the frontiers that have yet to be conquered. A worthy point to remember is the sheer amount of time, patience, and determination it has taken over the decades to gain rights for women. That dedication is necessary for any lasting change – be it a change in your own personal health and wellness, or change on a more global level.
As we honor and celebrate achievements in equality for women, consider how these activists have helped shape your life today – and take inspiration from their perseverance to bring about good.