Women’s Equality Day

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Many women enjoy full emancipation. They can carry on with their normal daily lives, can celebrate their beauty with pride, and can do what they want, when they want. However, almost everywhere around the world there are women who are still denied basic human rights.

Civil Rights Movement

The US women’s rights movement began when Elizabeth Cady Staton and Lucretia Mott were denied access to the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, because they were women. Upon their return to the US, they, along with Martha Wright, Jane Hunt, and Mary Ann McClintock, initiated plans for the first ever women’s rights gathering in Seneca Falls, New York.

On the first day of the meeting, July 19 1848, 200 women attended. On the second day, some men joined too. They presented 12 resolutions enumerating how the rights of women should be equal to those of men economically, socially, representatively and legally. All but the 9th resolution, the right to vote, were approved across the board. However, after much discussion, and the support of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the 9th resolution was also passed.

Ensuring Observation

National Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passing of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution by Congress, granting women full and equal voting rights, which took place on August 26 1920. On August 26 1973, by a joint resolution of Congress, the first Women’s Equality Day was celebrated. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Bella Abzug and since then, the day is proclaimed by the president every year.                                                                  

Women’s Rights Today

While women may have gained equal rights in the US and other countries, many women and girls around the world are still denied fundamental human rights, simply because of their gender. This, despite the rights enshrined by the United Nations nearly 70 years ago which include the right to live free from slavery, discrimination, and violence; to own property; be educated; to vote; and to earn an equal and fair wage.

There are many women’s groups that work tirelessly to win rights for women and girls and to change policies and societies in countries where women cannot own property, run for offices, vote, etc. They also fight for women to be able to live free from violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, and injurious practices like female genital mutilation.

On this day, perhaps we could all take a moment to appreciate gender rights for all, to think about those who don’t enjoy them, and to commend those who work relentlessly to achieve them.

Post #WomensEqualityDay on social media.

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