Women’s Equality Day has been proclaimed each year since 1972 by the United States President. The day commemorates the granting of the right to vote to women with the certification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution on August 26, 1920. The movement had begun 72 years before in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Observance of Women’s Equality Day and the passage of the 19th Amendment, allows us to bring attention to the continuing efforts of men and women toward full equality.
Here is the Joint Resolution of Congress from 1971 designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day:
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26, the anniversary date of the certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and
WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and 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, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.
The first presidential proclamation from 1973, by President Richard Nixon states: “While we are making great strides to eliminate outright job discrimination because of sex in the Federal Government, we must recognize that people’s attitudes cannot be changed by laws alone. There still exist elusive prejudices born of mores and customs that stand in the way of progress for women. We must do all that we can to overcome these barriers against what is fair and right.” For more of the first proclamation by President Nixon go to http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=106917
President Barak Obama states in this year’s proclamation that, “At every level of society, women are leaders at the forefront of progress. Serving as judges and Members of Congress, setting world records in sports, founding groundbreaking companies, and fighting on the front lines of combat, women continue to tear down barriers and shatter glass ceilings — just as they have done since the founding of our Nation. Yet such progress is not inevitable, and we must keep moving forward on our journey toward equality.” President Barak Obama’s Presidential Proclamation can be found here or https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/08/25/presidential-proclamation-womens-equality-day-2016