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Honoring Our Right to Vote This Women's Equality Day

Ninety-eight years ago, on August 26th, after decades of tireless advocacy, women finally won the right to vote with the adoption of the 19th Amendment—opening the democratic process to more than 23 million women.  

Women’s Equality Day was created on this anniversary to raise awareness about the importance of gender equality and recognize the sacrifices made by the suffragists. And 45 years after President Richard Nixon’s first Women’s Equality Day proclamation that “much still remains to be done” for equality, much still remains to be done. 

Voting is People Power

The Fight Continues 

During the final push for women’s suffrage, Carrie Chapman Catt, leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, founded the League of Women Voters to “finish the fight” and educate millions about the power of their votes.  

She declared: "Progress is calling to you to make no pause. Act!"

But even after the 19th Amendment was passed and became law, women of color and poor women continued to face barriers at the polls.  

Even today, the fight continues.  

In 2013, the Supreme Court rolled back fundamental safeguards of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that protected voters against discrimination. In the years since the VRA was weakened, we have seen more voter suppression nationwide: 

  • Unnecessary voter purges that disenfranchise eligible voters 

  • Discriminatory voter photo ID requirements 

  • Restrictions on early voting 

  • Fewer and more crowded polling locations in underrepresented communities 

Today, Congress has the power to restore the effectiveness of this important Act and uphold our democracy. 

What Next? 

Women’s Equality Day is all about celebrating what we all, as Americans, can do to build a better democracy: Vote.  

The women who fought for the right to vote understood that voting is the key way to make an impact on the critical issues facing their communities. Set aside a few minutes to check on your registration status, make sure the people in your life are registered to vote, and start learning about the candidates and issues that will be on your ballot (check out VOTE411.org for your personalized info!)  

Honoring Our Right to Vote This Women's Equality Day

In that first proclamation of Women’s Equality Day President Nixon said, "For the cause of equal rights and opportunities for women is inseparable from the cause of human dignity and equal justice for all."

As we celebrate our nation’s progress toward equality for all, join us in this fight by telling your members of Congress to work quickly to repair and restore the VRA to ensure our elections are free, fair, and accessible.  

 

This Women's Equality Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the progress made on voting rights in the last 98 years and emphasizes the continued need to improve our election process. Today we are reminded of how far we have come and how far we still must travel for true equality.