On August 26th we celebrate the 97th Anniversary of women's right to vote in the United States of America, and also National Women’s Equality Day.  The United States Congress passed the 19th Amendment of the Constitution granting women equal voting rights on this day in 1920, at times we may forget the true power of this right. The 19th amendment symbolized a shift for women, and is often seen as a turning point for gender equality in this country. The 19th amendment may have been passed in 1920, however the battle for women to win the vote was much longer and filled with turmoil.

Women who paved the way for this Amendment fought hard for over 80 years! The first recognized women’s rights convention in the United States was held in New York city in 1848. During this conference it was proposed that women should be viewed as equal to men in all matters: including, legal voting rights. This small convention of only 200 attendees took the first steps required for women’s legal equality to become constitutional.

This convention led to the birth of the women’s suffrage movement.  A movement continued by feminists such as Susan B. Anthony, who created in 1869 the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). For years this association worked towards introducing an amendment to the Constitution allowing women full voting rights. Their efforts were continually rejected, and ultimately led to her arrest (along with 15 other women) for attempting to vote in the presidential election of 1872.

The women’s rights movement claimed another victory on August 26th 1971. This was the first celebration of Women’s Equality Day. Congress decided to officially recognize this day and is now observed annually following the proposal brought forth by feminist Bella Abzug. Bella wanted to raise awareness of current women’s rights issues, while paying homage to the sacrifices of women before her in the suffrage movement.

Susan B. Anthony, Bella Abzug, and countless other brave women, fought an uphill battle allowing for the rights we have today. Whether your beliefs align with the left or right side of the political party, “EMBRACE YOUR DIFFERENT”! Celebrate your freedom to vote and encourage other women you know to do the same! We won the right to vote but the fight for true equality still rages on.

Take time this Women's Equality Day to remember the women who came before you, and celebrate your freedom to vote! Make sure to post and use the hashtags #womensequalityday and #nevertooprettytovote this August 26th! Because you are #NEVERTOPRETTY to have your voice be heard!