August 26 is the 96th anniversary of women of United States got universal suffrage. The day has been celebrated as Women’s Equality Day, heralding a new epoch in the fight by women across the world to achieve equality and justice.
On the legal front, it had ushered serious legislation’s, as the 19th Amendment was adopted, emphasizing that “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.”
The new law gave a new direction to US democracy making about 8 million female voters to cast their votes for the first time in their lives.
However, the actual fight for the rights for votes go back to those days in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention, attended by over 200 women activists across US. This gathering came to discuss various issues being faced by US women at that time.
The most remarkable achievement of the Convention was coming up with a a declaration for universal suffrage. Unfortunately, it was met with public ridicule , echoing the dominant sentiments of that time.
For the next seven decade, the right for votes movement gained strength as more and more educated women took part in the fight.
According to the The National Women’s History Project, the struggles were nothing short of an epic as they were always short of resources and legal assistance.
“To win the right to vote, women circulated countless petitions, gave speeches, published newspapers, and travelled the country to win support,” reminisces the organization about the initial days of the struggle.
Nothing could match their sacrifices as “They were frequently ridiculed, harassed and sometimes attacked by mobs and police. Some were thrown in jail, and then treated brutally when they protested.”
But, finally the Amendment, came to being in August 1920, after being proposed in 1919. The decisive vote by a 23-year-old Tennessee legislator, helped it to pass the scrutiny in Parliament.
NWHP today hails August 26 as one of the most glorifying day for humanity.
Its website mentions day as, “The significance of the woman suffrage campaign – and its enormous political and social impact – have been largely ignored in the telling of American history,” but, “It is the story of women creating one of the most innovative and successful nonviolent civil rights efforts the world has ever seen.”