What is National Women’s Equality Day?

National Women's Equality Day

National Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. Celebrated every August 26, the day is an opportunity to celebrate civil liberties, reflect on the women’s suffrage movement, and appreciate the women in your life. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the origin of National Women’s Equality Day and its ties to the women’s rights movement, then you’re in the right place. We even have some ideas about what you can do to make the day an extra special one. 

When Is National Women’s Equality Day?

This year, National Women’s Equality Day takes place on Thursday, August 26, 2021. The holiday is held on August 26 every year to commemorate when the 19th Amendment was signed into law in 1920. This Amendment was the culmination of a decades-long women’s suffrage movement, as it finally provided women with the right to vote.

National Women’s Equality Day isn’t the only holiday aimed at celebrating the achievements of women. There are plenty of others, such as:

  • National Girls and Women in Sports Day – February 2
  • International Day of Women and Girls in Science – February 11
  • International Women’s Day – March 8 
  • Wife Appreciation Day – September 19
  • International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – November 25

What Is National Women’s Equality Day?

The traditional purpose of National Women’s Equality Day has been to commemorate the passing of the 19th Amendment and recognize the achievements of the women’s suffrage movement. However, the holiday also more generally represents the steps the country has taken toward equality. It’s an opportunity to look back on the progress the nation has made towards equality among all people, as well as think about the strides we can take to promote social equality in the future. 

History of Women’s Equality Day

National Women’s Equality Day celebrates a landmark event in the history of the United States. However, the history of the women’s rights movement goes back much further than that single day on August 26, 1920. Since the country’s founding, women have struggled to obtain the same rights as their male counterparts. 

The women’s rights movement in the U.S. is generally considered to have started in 1848, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized a women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY. This meeting, held on July 19-20, was attended by roughly 300 people. 

In front of the gathered crowd, Stanton read her “Declaration of Sentiments,” a document modeled after the Declaration of Independence. In it, she says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal;” This text outlined many of the injustices women faced at the time, and the convention itself helped to kick off a major social movement. 

National League of Women Picture

More women’s rights conventions were held in the following years, and the movement picked up steam. Figures like Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth engaged in activism that furthered the cause of women’s rights. Women protested, organized, and lobbied Congress for the right to vote. Finally, on August 18, 1920, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, and it was certified about a week later on August 26. 

The idea of National Women’s Equality Day was first proposed in 1971 by Representative Bella Abzug. By 1972, then-President of the United States Richard Nixon issued Proclamation 4147, which officially established Women’s Rights Day. The occasion has been celebrated annually ever since. 

Why Is the Women’s Rights Movement Important? 

The women’s rights movement was instrumental in gaining national support for a woman’s right to vote. They brought awareness to the injustices women faced and demanded equal treatment under the law. Not only did the women’s rights movement spark the passage of the 19th Amendment, but it also inspired future generations to work together to fight for their rights. 

Things to Do on National Women’s Equality Day

Not sure what to do for Women’s Suffrage Day? We’ve got a few ideas for you. This August 26, you might consider one or more of the following activities: 

  • Educate yourself – Spend the day reading up on the women’s suffrage movement and educate yourself about one of the most significant social revolutions in American history. 
  • Host a tea party – Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her friends first came up with the idea of a women’s rights convention while having tea together. Host your own tea party to replicate this historic moment!
  • Appreciate the women in your life – This is one thing you can do any day of the year—but it’s especially important on National Women’s Equality Day. Celebrate women in your life by gifting flowers and performing other small acts of kindness. 

National Women’s Equality Day is your chance to recognize a significant achievement for the country as a whole. However you decide to spend the day, FTD can help you make it memorable. Shop our Women’s Equality Day gifts to give something special to any of the women in your life!