Women’s Equality Day 2023
August 26th is Women’s Equality Day, a global observance of women and their efforts – today and every day - towards achieving full equality.
/ Celebrating Women /
This year’s theme for Women’s Equality Day is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”. From the earliest storytellers through pioneering journalists, our experiences have been captured by a wide variety of artists and teachers. These include authors, songwriters, scholars, playwrights, performers, and grandmothers throughout time.
Women have long been instrumental in passing on our heritage in word and in print to communicate the lessons of those who came before us. Women’s stories, and the larger human story, expand our understanding and strengthen our connections with each other.
“WOMEN’S HISTORY IS WOMEN’S RIGHT. IT IS AN ESSENTIAL, INDISPENSABLE HERITAGE FROM WHICH WE CAN DRAW PRIDE, COMFORT, COURAGE, AND LONG-RANGE VISION.” – Gerda Lerner, Women’s History Pioneer
/ On This Day /
Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of women’s suffrage in the U.S. and reminds us of the hurdles overcome by the heroic women who faced violence and discrimination to propel the women’s movement forward.
This year, we recognize the 103rd anniversary of women’s suffrage—which granted women the right to vote following the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
“THE RIGHT OF CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES TO VOTE SHALL NOT BE DENIED OR ABRIDGED BY THE UNITED STATES OR BY ANY STATE ON ACCOUNT OF SEX. CONGRESS SHALL HAVE POWER TO ENFORCE THIS ARTICLE BY APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION.”
Still today, women are not done fighting for FULL EQUALITY. Our nation’s wage gap between men and women still impacts women’s economic power, and gender-based discrimination still plagues workplaces and business transactions.
In the early 19th century, American women, who generally couldn’t inherit property and made half of a man’s wages in any available jobs, began organizing to demand political rights and representation.
By the early 1900s, several countries including Finland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom had legalized voting for women as the movement continued to sweep across the world. In the U.S., the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was first introduced in 1878, but it failed to gain traction.
It wasn’t until women’s involvement in the World War I effort made their contributions painfully obvious that women’s suffrage finally gained enough support. Women’s rights groups pointed out the hypocrisy of fighting for democracy in Europe while denying it to half of the American citizens at home.
Because a Constitutional amendment requires approval from two-thirds of the states, 36 of them had to ratify the 19th Amendment before its passage. The deciding vote in the Tennessee legislature came from Harry T. Burn, a young state representative whose mother’s plea to support the amendment became a deciding factor in his vote (which he switched at the last minute).
/ Traditions /
Women’s Equality Day is traditionally about uplifting and empowering women and marveling at how far women have progressed, defying all odds and oppression.
General traditions include:
- Workplaces, libraries, organizations, and public facilities participating with Women’s Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities
- Men and women expressing gratitude to influential women in their lives
- Communities supporting local women-owned and operated businesses
- Women celebrating womanhood
- Women helping women to address issues in their lives
- Social platform discussions and engagement
- Raising funds for charities and organizations that support women
/ Data /
- More than 400,000 women served in World War II as nurses, pilots, ambulance drivers, and in other important ancillary roles.
- Six: The number of countries that give women equal work rights as men.
- One in five women and girls have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse by a partner.
- 108: The number of years it will take to bridge the gender gap.
- 47%: The percentage of the increased likelihood for women to suffer severe injuries in car crashes because safety features are designed for men.
- 40%: The percentage drop in girls getting married in childhood in Southern Asia since 2000.
- 39: The number of countries where sons and daughters do not share equal inheritance rights.
- 23.7%: The percentage of women representation in national parliaments.
- 18: The number of countries where husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.
- 13%: The percentage of women globally who are agricultural landholders.
- 2.24: The number of men for every female character in films.
/ Watch /
/ Read /
- 100 Women Who Shaped World History by Gail Meyer Rolka
- Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Suffrage Movement by Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr.
- Women’s Equality Day is Saturday, but parity is still hard to come by, study says by Marie Leech
- Women Who Launched The Computer Age by Laurie Calkhoven
- Immigrant Women Workers In Neoliberal Age by Flores-Gonzale
- Front-Page Women Journalists, 1920-1950 by Kathleen A. Cairns
- There’s No Crying In Newsrooms by Kristin Grady Gilger and Julia Wallace
- A Woman in the Crossfire by Samar Yazbek
- Writing the Wrongs: Eva Valesh and the Rise of Labor Journalism by Elizabeth Faue
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
- Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
- Rainy Days: Short Stories by Contemporary Spanish Women Writers
- The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
- Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
- The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
- I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
- I Shimmer Sometimes, Too by Porsha Olayiwola
- TO CREATE: black writers, filmmakers, storytellers, artists, and media-makers riff on art, careers, life, and the beautiful mess in between by Felicia Pride
- The 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade by Alan Taylor
- Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
/ Listen /
/ Resources /
/ Support /
Sources: National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA), Congress.gov, Wikipedia, WiseVoter, National Today and Linkedin