Honoring the fight for women's equality

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." These 39 simple words were first proposed by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1878. Official certification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution came 42 years later, on Aug. 26, 1920.

To mark the 50th anniversary, the National Organization for Women sponsored the 1970 Women's Strike for Equality. More than 20,000 women throughout the country protested for workplace opportunities, political rights and social equality. "Don't iron while the strike is hot!" was their most famous slogan.

A year later, Member of Congress Bella Abzug introduced a resolution designating Aug. 26 as Women's Equality Day. It has been celebrated ever since.

The League of Women Voters was founded six months before the 19th Amendment's passage. Its mission was to help 20 million soon-to-be-enfranchised women carry out their responsibilities as voters.  We, too, are 93 years old – but hardly in our dotage. From our inception as an activist, grassroots organization with an unwavering commitment to nonpartisanship, the LWV has never supported individual candidates or political parties. Instead, the League takes positions at the national, state and local levels relating to voting rights, good government and sound social policies.

So take a moment on Aug. 26 to remember the courageous women and men who fought for equality in 1878, 1920 and 1970. And consider joining those who still lead the fight for good government today.

Pat Moyer

Director, Public Relations, League of Women Voters, Cuyahoga Area

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 9:54 AM, 08.20.2013