August 26 is celebrated as Women’s Equality Day in the United States to mark women’s advancements toward equality with men. In 1920, on August 26, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted. Amendment XIX prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens on the basis of sex. The day was first celebrated in 1973 and since then it has been an annual event.
On August 26, 1970, to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, the National Organisation for Women (NOW) organized nationwide ‘strike for equality’. Women were asked to stop working for a day to bring into light the inequalities when it comes to employment and education. Over one lakh women from 90 cities across the country participated in the demonstrations and rallies. Some women even took over the statue of liberty. The strike did not result in immediate change but was covered widely in media.
On August 16, 1973, the Congress approved H.J. Res. 52, which announced that August 26 be designated as Women’s Equality Day. It states, ‘the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation in commemoration of that day in 1920 on which the women in American were first guaranteed the right to vote’.