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Photo of Senator Terry Gerratana.

STATE SENATOR

Terry Gerratana

Healthy Families, Healthy Communities

Women's Equality Day

In 1971, the United States Congress designated August 26 as "Women's Equality Day" in America to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

This 19th Amendment to the Constitution was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world's first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.

Connecticut women vote

The observance of Women’s Equality Day on Saturday not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but it also calls attention to the ongoing efforts of women who are still seeking full equality in America, whether it be in their paychecks, in the workplace, in the courtroom, in civic and military organizations, or elsewhere.

To win the right to vote, women had to circulate countless petitions, give speeches, publish newspapers, and travel the country in order to win support for an idea that we take for granted today. These women suffragists were frequently ridiculed, harassed, and sometimes even attacked by mobs and police. Some were thrown in jail or treated brutally when they protested. The significance of the women's suffrage (right to vote) movement--and its enormous political and social impact--has been largely ignored in American history.

Nearly 250 years ago, we as a nation declared, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

It took 144 years to secure the right to vote for American women, but the fight for women’s equality still goes on today in other venues. I hope you'll take a moment to find your own way to celebrate--and to commit yourself to--women's equality in America.