Women’s Equality Day was introduced on August 26th, 1971 by Bella Abzug. And 90 years ago today, the 19th amendment was ratified and women were given the right to vote — but not all women. Black women weren’t given full voting rights until the Voting Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6, 1965, not to mention other marginalized women (and men) of color were denied citizenship and voting rights until later dates. In short, a very racist history existed within the suffrage movement — that can’t be forgotten.
And still today, voting restrictions for people who have been convicted of felonies and barriers to access for disabled folks means the playing field is still not equal. Outside of voting rights, the gender pay gap, systemic violence against trans people, the prevalence of sexual assault and domestic violence against women, the daily attacks on reproductive rights across the states and the severe xenophobia in this country are just a handful of the countless reasons that today is not really so much a day to celebrate, but to a day to acknowledge that we’ve gotten far — yet have got a ways to go. If anything, it should serve as a reminder for us to continue the unfinished work towards equality for all women and people — not just today, but every day — for the sake of social justice.