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Women’s Equality Day

The fight for equality and equal rights in the United States has been an ongoing struggle for many different sub-cultures

The women’s suffrage movement began in the mid-1900’s when women, who had contributed to the economic and social growth of the nation, started to demand the right to vote in elections. The first women’s suffrage amendment was introduced in 1878, but there were voting allowances given to women dating back to the founding of the United States. Before 1776, women were allowed to vote in several colonies that would later become the United States. By 1807, women were denied the right to vote in each of the state constitutions.

Women’s rights organizations began to take flight in the mid-1900’s and by 1848, the Seneca Falls convention adopted the Declaration of Sentiments, which sought after equality between the sexes including a resolution urging women the right to vote. After the Civil War, two primary organizations were formed to attack the issue of women’s suffrage, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association. The NWSA focused on lobbying Congress for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, while the AWSA focused on state campaigns. Eventually, these organizations merged into one, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, or the NAWSA, in 1890.

To add an additional layer to the women’s movement for equality in the voting booths, African American women were seeking suffrage as well as civil rights for African Americans during this time after Reconstruction. In 1866, the American Equal Rights Association was formed to include voting rights for African American men as well as women. The Fifteenth Amendment originated in 1789 and was updated in 1870 to include the ability to vote for African American men. The rights given to African American men before White women caused dissension for the AERA, which was composed of both African American and women of the dominant culture.

The rift between these two groups heightened when the AWSA, who were focused on state’s rights, began to separate themselves from women of color and their efforts to gain voting rights. This was done to gain the trust of Southern states in order to further their cause. It took a great deal of time and effort for women’s suffrage to solidify their movement and on August 26, 1919 Congress made a new amendment to the constitution, allowing women of the majority culture their right to vote.

It is this day that we honor this movement by celebrating Women’s Equality Day!

It’s important to note that although African American men were included in the Fifteenth Amendment, the states were able to manage their own voting polls and rules which continued to withhold enforcing the rights given. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that the United States outlawed discriminatory acts based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation and gender identity.

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About the Author:

Nicole Davis provides counseling for teens, women, and young adults in Oak Cliff, Dallas Nicole Davis is dedicated to women’s issues. Empathy is her superpower! She’s got a wealth of life experience and can relate to many of life’s situations. Having a caring therapist who provides a safe environment for you to speak your truth and learn your way to a happy and healthy life is her priority. Working at Lifeologie Oak Cliff has become an added joy for her, as she’s able to help others and serve the community in Oak Cliff. Nicole offers an affordable rate at $35/session. Book with her today!