The observance recognizing Women’s Equality Day was established by Joint Resolution of Congress in 1971.

Women’s Equality Day is observed on the 26th day of August and commemorates the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which gave women the right to vote. The observance has grown to include focusing attention on women’s continued efforts toward gaining full equality. The theme for this event does not change each year.

This day marks a turning point in the history of the struggle for equal treatment of women and women’s rights. The day stands for the result of a huge, 72 year peaceful civil rights movement for women that began in 1848.

Prior to movements like these, even respected thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant believed that woman’s inferior status in society was completely logical and reasonable; women were “beautiful” and “not fit for serious employment.”

Over the last century, great women have proved these views wrong as the world has witnessed just what women are capable of achieving, from the likes of Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt fighting for civil rights and equality, to great scientists such as Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and Jane Goodall.

The last century has shown more than ever what both women and men are capable of achieving, given the opportunity.