Today is Women’s Equality Day, an annual celebration to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment, 101 years ago when some women were allowed to vote. Celebrating the Women’s Equality Day reflects changing societal dimensions on inequality and rethinking means to address them.
When the 19th Amendment was passed over a century ago, the moment was an instrumental mark in American history as a bridge to persistent gender inequality. However, other forms of inequality arose, especially among the marginalized communities. Women of color still suffered structural inequalities with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, literacy tests and poll taxes, and the Chinese Exclusion Act. This implied that even though women were allowed to vote, not all women enjoyed those rights. The challenging issue to reflect on to date is how, over a century later, this equality move remains fragile to many eligible women citizens in some sections of our country.
The modern-day approach to the idea of equality has expanded and raising the necessity for women’s unity in addressing their equal access to all forms of rights and freedoms. In championing inclusivity in political rights, it’s crucial to focus on social and economic equality for all women. One key highlight of this struggle emerged in 2019 when the US Women National Soccer team protested their unequal pay by the federation despite having better performances than the Men’s national team. In acknowledging our society’s steps towards gender equality, it is essential to highlight existing gaps and focus policies towards addressing them.
Women’s Equality Day is a celebration of when women first won the right to vote. However, equal rights weren’t so equal at that moment, and subsequent struggles were crucial to reaching the current state of affairs. Although the Amendment made it illegal to deny citizens the right to vote based on sex, other factors such as race and ethnicity still limited many from voting. As we celebrate the spirit of August 26th, it should be a reminder to our society of much more to be achieved towards equality and equal rights for all.