Sunday, August 26, is Women’s Equality Day. This day marks the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote 92 years ago. Thousands of women and their allies worked for decades to make that day in 1920 possible. It took years of lobbying and demonstrations, passing out pamphlet after pamphlet, publishing editorials, and giving speeches to make it happen. On Women’s Equality Day in 2010, we celebrated some of the great sacrifices women suffragists made in the fight for the vote.
The right to vote was a great step in women gaining equality — many of today’s elected leaders are sticking up for women and their rights because women are a vocal constituency. But it’s not enough. Some of our representatives still believe women can’t get pregnant from rape, while others want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides millions of women with preventive care services free of charge with their health insurance.
This election year, we can harness the vote our sisters worked hard, before and after 1920, to give us by knocking this backward thinking aside and continuing our progress toward equality. So this weekend, I hope you will join us in celebrating Women’s Equality Day by getting ready for the upcoming election. Here are five things you can do right now:
- Register to vote. Don’t wait, or it could be too late. Act now.
- Find out what will be on the ballot in your state. Don’t give too much credit to the writers of ballot measures. The language can be tricky, so reading it ahead of time will ensure you vote for what you believe in. Act now.
- Film an It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard pep talk video. Sometimes all it takes is a connection with someone like you to make a request successful. Ask a young woman in your life about the issues that she’s voting for, and send us the footage. Act now.
- Send this blog to a young woman. Your reminder could be just what she needs to get inspired. Act now.
- Sign a petition — get involved! There are an overwhelming number of petitions on the Internet covering a huge range of topics. Sign up for the AAUW Action Network, and take a stand on important issues. Act now.