Celebrating women's equality

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Aug. 26 is Women's Equality Day. What does this mean? It means that this is the day that we celebrate National Women's Suffrage. What does that mean? It means Aug. 26 is the anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, particularly in political elections.

In 1848, thousands of people marched in places like New York City and Washington D.C., wrote editorials, printed pamphlets, gave speeches all over the nation, lobbied political organizations, held demonstrations and picketed the White House for the first time in history. All of this was to create an amendment to give women the equal right to vote.

The 19th Amendment, which prohibits any citizen of the United States from being denied the right to vote based on gender, was introduced to Congress for the first time on Jan. 10, 1878. It wasn't until June 1919 however, that the amendment was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Women all over the nation only needed two-thirds of the states to ratify the amendment. It fell to one Tennessee man, Harry Burn, to cast the final vote in the final state needed for ratification. He heeded the words of his mother when she urged him to vote yes for women's suffrage. Then, Bainbridge Colby, U.S. Secretary of State, signed the amendment into law on Aug. 26, 1920.

Since then, there have been many more rallies and protests, and women in New York City even took over the Statue of Liberty to fight for equal rights. Women of today continue to draw from the history of these brave and determined women.

In 1971, Rep. Bella Abzug, D-N.Y., introduced a bill designating Aug. 26 of each year as Women's Equality Day and the bill passed. Part of the bill states that Women's Equality Day is a symbol of women's continued fight for equal rights and that the United States commends and supports them.