The Nineteenth Amendment was certified on August 26, 1920. For those not in the know, it’s this amendment that prevents the United States from restricting the right to vote on the basis of sex, thus giving millions of women the newfound right to cast their ballot. In 1971, 51 years after that landmark in women’s history, women everywhere started celebrating National Women’s Equality Day every August 26, and the tradition has stuck since it’s designation by Congress in 1976.
National Women’s Equality Day is a wonderful day to celebrate and learn about the powerful women who have changed the world. It’s also a reflective day, with many women taking the time to think about what this day means to them. Some of the powerful and intelligent women from around the Williamson area kindly shared their thoughts with Williamson Forward.
A Source of Pride
For some in the community, it’s a day of pride. “On this National Women’s Equality Day, I am proud to be a working, young woman,” Says Katie Deaton with the Williamson Envision Center. “I am so thankful to be able to get out and serve in my community and not only be a positive influence on our little town, but I hope to be a positive influence on young girls and show them that they can be anything they set their minds to!”
Similarly, it reminds Amy Dearfield Hannah with Williamson Health and Wellness Center how much she matters. “It reminds me that my voice and those of my female counterparts all matter.”
Celebrating How Far We’ve Come
For others, it’s a day dedicated to celebrating how far we’ve come. “For years, we were denied basic civil liberties, such as the right to vote,” Says Cassie Diamond, chapter leader of Wildlife Women. “The 19th amendment was a part of a movement in our country that paved the way for women like me to flourish. I have always been raised to believe that all people are created equal, and to think that just years ago I would not have been able to voice my opinion or hold a certain job just because I was a female is unfathomable to me. I was not created to be a homemaker or someone who holds their tongue in a room full of males,” She says. “I am a strong woman and I hold my values close to my heart. I am so thankful for the pioneer women who paved the way for me to be able to live the way I choose now.”
More Than a Celebration
Vicky Evans, an instructor at Southern WV Community and Technical College, views Women’s Equality Day as an important day to acknowledge women’s history, as well as where we’re at now. “Women’s Equality Day is a celebration of victory for not only women, but for all of humankind,” She says. “As we celebrate this victory may we never forget our sisters throughout the world who suffer through the atrocities of having their lives endangered as they yearn for the freedom we gained.” For Vicky, this day isn’t just about acknowledgement and celebration. “Yes, We will celebrate, but we will continue to cry out for those without a voice.”
If you’d like more information about Women’s Equality Day, check out the National Women’s History Museum.