Happy Women’s Equality Day!
Following a joint resolution of Congress in 1971, August 26th was declared Women’s Equality Day.
Of course, women don’t need a day to remind us that we’re equal. And we’re not any less equal the other 364 days of the year. But it is a good time to remember what it took to secure our equal rights.
Why August 26th? That’s the day that the 19th Amendment was added to the Constitution. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee ratified the amendment, giving it the last needed vote, but it wasn’t until the 26th that the U.S. Secretary of State certified the ratification.
But the fight for equality began long before the 19th Amendment was ratified. The first women’s rights convention was held in 1848 at Seneca Falls, and women today owe a great deal to the suffragists that gathered there and the others that would join the cause in the decades to follow.
As Co-Chair of the Republican Party, I’m proud of the role the Republican Party played in that journey. Susan B. Anthony, the most famous and influential suffragist, proudly voted Republican—even before it was legal for her to vote. It was a Republican Senator who introduced the Amendment to Congress in 1878, and it took a Republican House and Senate to pass it finally in 1919.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
In the 93 years since women gained the right to vote, we’ve certainly come a long way: Today, women are the majority of voters. We occupy positions in every level of business and almost every level of government. And young women are the majority of students at the country’s colleges and universities.
As I travel all over the country talking to clubs and committees, meetings and seminars, I’m often asked about “women’s issues.” My reply is the same: women’s issues are everyone’s issues—jobs, healthcare, education, entrepreneurship, government spending, and so on. We’re not some special interest group. Equality means there aren’t women’s issues and men’s issues; there are just issues.
And regardless of your politics, that’s something to celebrate.
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