9 Productive Ways To Spend Women's Equality Day
In 1971, Congress officially declared August 26 as Women's Equality Day, to commemorate the 19th Amendment — giving women the right to vote — that was added to the U.S. Constitution on August 18, 1920, according to National Women's History Project. Although, it should be noted that the amendment was first introduced in 1878. Yes, it took 42 years for the U.S. government to finally see that no one should be denied the right to vote based on their gender.
According to the joint resolution by Congress in 1971, "NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place."
While our fight for gender equality may be far from over, this year marks the 99th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, we can't possibly let the day pass without not just honoring its importance, but honoring the women who fought for us to have this right, those amazing suffragists who worked tirelessly for decades.
Here are nine productive ways to spend Women's Equality Day.
1. Use Your Voice
2. Get The Word Out
"Make copies of the Women's Equality Day brochure," executive director and Cofounder of the National Women's History Project, Molly Murphy MacGregor, tells Bustle. "Leave multiple copies at bookstores and libraries and give them to teachers."
In other words, take a page from Emma Watson who so kindly covered NYC in feminist books on 2017 International Women's Day. Thank you, Emma!
3. Donate To Causes That Support Equality
Whether you choose to donate to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Organization for Women, or the Association for Women's Rights In Development, just to name a few, make whatever financial contribution you can realistically afford. If you can't financially contribute, then research ways in which you can donate your time.
4. Pay Homage
"Visit the gravesite of one of the women in your community who worked to civic engagement and leave a flower or a note promising that you will vote in the next election," says MacGregor.
For example, my great-grandmother, Dee Dee, whom I never met (but apparently, I'm just like according to my father) was a fierce feminist, suffragist, and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was a huge advocate for equality and civil rights. Although she was cremated and her ashes were cast into the Atlantic Ocean, I plan to drop a daisy, her favorite flower, into the Hudson River, promising that I sure as hell will be voting.
5. Sign The Women's Equality Day Petition
Although Women's Equality Day is a recognized day, it's not an official holiday. In signing the Women’s Equality Day petition you'll be adding your name to a petition to get August 26 made into a federal holiday. You can also join the Women’s History Alliance who will be working to make sure that federal holiday declaration will be instated in the next two years. No more of this waiting 42 years BS.
6. Raise A Glass Virtually
7. Be Inclusive In Your Actions
"I don’t know how I feel about the women’s equality movement," Rebecca Kling, an advocate for the National Center for Transgender Equality, tells Bustle, "because I don’t know how it feels about me."
Women's Equality Day isn't just for straight, cis-gender women, white women, or women with a certain body type. Excluding people from Women's Equality Day defeats the purpose of celebrating Women's Equality Day. So, no matter what you do, make sure it's intersectional.
8. Make Sure Schools And Libraries In Your Community Have The History Of Women's Suffrage On Their Shelves
According to the National Women's History Project, a great way to be productive is to make sure no school or library in your community is without books and any other reading material about women's suffrage. They suggest Winning The Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement as a must-have.
9. Know Your History
Although The National Women's History Project suggests getting to know about suffrage martyr, Inez Milholland, who died at the age of 30 after a 1916 speaking tour about the importance of women's right to vote — her death being caused by pernicious anemia which was assumed to have been brought on by her tireless efforts — it doesn't have to stop there. There so are many aspects to the women's suffrage movement that should learned, understood, and celebrated, so make sure to do some research.
Happy Women's Equality Day!
This post was originally published on August 22, 2018. It was updated on August 26, 2019.
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