Women’s Equality Day a Reminder that Battle Extends beyond 19th Amendment

The challenge of equality for women is a hot button issue in many cultures. It’s a fight being waged across the globe with increased attention. August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, which provides a great opportunity for teaching kids about women’s rights today and throughout history.

Women’s Equality Day is observed to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment into law in 1920. The 19th Amendment, adopted after more than 70 years of political struggle, guaranteed women the right to vote.

Women are using that right. According to a 2015 Time.com post, citing information from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, 64 percent of eligible women (71.4 million) exercised their right to vote in 2012 elections, compared to 60 percent (61.6 million) of eligible men.

Women still have a long way to go. Despite women’s active participation, the study noted that in 2015 only 104 of 535 members of Congress and 6 of 50 U.S. governors were women.

Though not an official holiday, every president since 1972 has proclaimed August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. “When women succeed, America succeeds,” said Mr. Obama in his presidential proclamation. The President added that more progress must be made, particularly on the issues of equal pay and protecting women from assault.

“There is still more to do to secure the promise of our nation for everyone, including ensuring that women have equal opportunities to participate in the classroom, the economy, the workplace, and our democracy,” the President said.

Suffragette, a movie about the battle for women’s rights in the 19th and early 20th centuries and the violent, sometimes radical lengths women would go to achieve them, had its theatrical release on October 23, 2015. Though the term “suffragist” was originally coined in London, in reference to those women, the movie, which stars Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, and Helena Bonham Carter, remains significant in today’s ongoing battles in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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Make Women’s Equality Day a teaching opportunity in your home. Try this Learning Liftoff activity on women’s suffrage, and read more on teaching kids U.S. history on Learning Liftoff.


Featured Image via Focus Features

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