In 1971, supported by Representative Bella Abzug (NY-D) and passed by a joint resolution in Congress, August 26 was designated as Women’s Equality Day in recognition of the passage of the 19th amendment.
The passage of this monumental amendment not only granted women the right to vote but changed the face of public policy and political agendas in the United States. Previously shaped by the ideologies of men, political platforms prior to the passage of the 19th amendment did not represent the topics important to women, a group that is composed of approximately 50 percent of the population. Thanks to the suffragists who worked continuously in support of the 19th amendment, women have been provided with a means to convey their opinions and develop policies that are important to them, building on the ideas of freedom and equality, as well as setting the stage for future civil rights agendas.
Women’s Equality Day, though designed to recognize the passage of the 19th amendment, continues to shine a light on gender equality topics, including but not limited to reproductive rights and gender pay gaps. Regardless of where you stand on these important issues, the main point is the ability to have representation by all U.S. citizens.
To honor the hard work of the suffragists, here are five ways to celebrate Gender Equality Day:
1. Register to vote: With primary elections determining political party presidential candidates in early 2016 and a looming presidential election coming in November 2016, now is the time to review party agendas, determine which party best aligns with your views, and register to vote.
2. Bring a friend: Do you know someone who is not registered to vote? Take them with you. Have you already registered? If so, provide them with guidance on how and why to register to vote.
3. Educate yourself: Understanding how our nation has come to the issues discussed today, the fight of people before us, the process in which topics are recognized as public policies and developed into legislation, and the role and responsibilities of citizens are all analytical topics within the study of history and politics. At Post, students have a variety of history and political science courses to choose from, all developed to help delve deep into conversations circling past ideas, events, people, and their impact on today.
4. Talk to your daughter: Okay, this does not have to be your daughter, this could be your sister, friend, mother; it is any and all important women in your life. Educate them on the importance of exercising their right to vote, teach them to use their voice, empower them, take them to the voting booth with you, and talk about the topics affecting women’s equality. Most importantly, teach them why they are important.
5. Vote: The only way public policy and political agendas will continue to address women’s equality and other important topics is if citizens exercise their right to vote. Locate your polling place and take action. The country’s direction is in your hands