Join the Alice Paul Institute in honoring Women’s Equality Day throughout the month of August.
Donate $26 (or more!) and the Alice Paul Institute will send you an #OrdinaryEquality temporary tattoo and a colorful magnet featuring Alice Paul and her inspiring quote:
“There is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.”
On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, and women in America finally gained the legal right to vote.
19th Amendment: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States of by any State on account of sex.
For 97 years, women and men across the county have recognized this special anniversary. Millions of women have voted in local, regional, and national elections, and every year we see an increase in the number of women running for office or elected to office.
At the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” in 1971. The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. This day was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York.
The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. Workplaces, libraries, organizations, and public facilities now participate with Women’s Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities. And every President of the United States since 1972 has issued a public proclamation in honor of this day.
Joint Resolution of Congress, 1971, designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day
Below is the text, authored by Rep. Bella Abzug, that officially designated 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.”
Alice Paul & the Alice Paul Institute
Alice Paul was the architect of some of the most outstanding political achievements on behalf of women in the 20th century. Born on January 11, 1885, to Quaker parents in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Alice Paul dedicated her life to the single cause of securing equal rights for all women. Few individuals have had as much impact on American history as has Alice Paul. Her life symbolizes the long struggle for justice in the United States and around the world. Her vision was the ordinary notion that women and men should be equal partners in society.
Alice Paul was integral to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Through the National Woman’s Party, she organized parades, letter-writing campaigns, and the first ever picketing of the White House. Thanks to her efforts, and those of the multitude of women who had fought for suffrage since the 1840s, it was in 1919 that both the House and Senate passed the 19th Amendment and the battle for state ratification commenced. Three-fourths of the states were needed to ratify the amendment. The battle for ratification came down to the state of Tennessee in the summer of 1920; if a majority of the state legislature voted for the amendment, it would become law. The deciding vote was cast twenty-four year-old Harry Burn, the youngest member of the Tennessee assembly. Originally intending to vote “no,” Burn changed his vote after receiving a telegram from his mother asking him to support women’s suffrage. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment. Six days later, Secretary of State Colby certified the ratification, and, with the stroke of his pen, American women gained the right to vote after a seventy-two year battle. August 26th is now celebrated as Women’s Equality Day in the United States.
The Alice Paul Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey at Alice Paul’s birthplace, Paulsdale. API furthers the legacy of Alice Paul and her life’s work for gender equality, and also takes a leadership role in bringing recognition to organizations and historic sites that honor women. Paulsdale, a model of adaptive reuse of a historic site, hosts a vibrant menu of leadership development programs that use the rich history and potential of women leaders to inspire young people to make a difference in their schools and communities.