Women have been fighting for equal rights for a very long time and while there is still much to be done, we have made strides. In fact, this Thursday, August 26 is Women’s Equality Day. This date actually holds some significance. On August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment gave the right to women to vote, but the document was not certified until August 26, 1920, when it was signed quietly behind closed doors with no reporters or cameras in the room by the U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. It comes to no surprise that this caused an uproar from suffragettes who wanted to be present and have this momentous event captured in pictures. The charge was led by women's suffrage leaders Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt. However, Colby denied their entry due to concerns over a rivalry between Paul and Cat. He wanted to avoid any type of scene at this signing. However, it did not diminish the significance of this document allowing women to vote and ending a struggle that started an entire century earlier.
In 1971, Representative Bella Abzug created a Bill to have August 26th be “Women’s Equality Day”. This bill states that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote.” This day is celebrated by many and will continue to be celebrated for many years to come.
While we have come a long way, today women are still battling for equality, especially in the workforce. In general, women make about 82.3 cents for every dollar men make. That means women are paid almost 18 percent less than men. So the fight still continues but on August 26, Women’s Equality Day, let’s take a moment to realize how far we have come.