August 26th is Women’s Equality Day, a commemoration of the day in 1920 when women in America were guaranteed the right to vote.
While the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920, it took several days for the amendment to be certified by the correct government official. The U.S. Secretary of State signed the proclamation officially on the evening of August 26, which is why Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on that day.
On the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1970, several women’s groups organized protests and marches in a nationwide “strike for equality.” Women demanded equal opportunities in education and employment, and the larger women’s rights movement aimed for representation and equality in politics, work, the family and sexuality.
The fight for women’s rights and equality in society has been long and hard fought, and it still goes on today. According to the Department of Labor, women are not paid as much as men, and a larger disparity exists for Black and Hispanic women. The recent overturning of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is also seen as a loss for women’s rights to make personal, private decisions about their bodies.
Organizations like the National Women’s History Alliance work to promote women’s history and are committed to the goals of education, empowerment, equality and inclusion. Their work focuses on spotlighting women’s history in school curriculums and in the media, particularly multicultural stories that are often overlooked in mainstream approaches to teaching history.
Consider celebrating Women’s Equality Day this year by picking up a book at YPL.
Read up on the history of the women’s rights movement and what it means to be a feminist with reads like "The American Woman’s Almanac: 500 Years of Making History” or “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that the Movement Forgot.”
Be sure to ask a librarian if you’re looking for a more specific recommendation. And don’t forget you can always check out e-books and audiobooks directly onto your mobile device using Libby!
Alison Robles is a part-time page at the Crestwood Library. She is an avid reader with a passion for YA lit, historical fiction and fantasy. A Yonkers native, she graduated from Iona University in 2020 with a dual-degree in Marketing and Public Relations. She is pursuing a Masters in Information and Library Science from the University at Buffalo.