COMMENTARY FROM A BADASS WOMAN
The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote nationally on August 18, 1920, so why is Women’s Equality Day on August 26th each year?
The simple answer is that even when a constitutional amendment has been ratified it’s not official until it has been certified by the correct government official. In 1920, that official was U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. On August 26, 1920, Colby signed a proclamation behind closed doors at 8 a.m. at his own house in Washington, D.C, ending a struggle for the vote that started a century earlier.
In 1971, Representative Bella Abzug championed a bill in the U.S. Congress to designate August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The bill says that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote.”
BUT THE UGLY TRUTH IS THAT, 123 YEARS SINCE WOMEN GAINED THE RIGHT TO VOTE, WE STILL DO NOT HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS.
Needless to say the constant work, over 123 years, to pass the ERA creates a rather long narrative but one worth reading, particularly since there are still more than a few people who believe the ERA is already a part of the Constitution.
The Brennan Center For Justice has an excellent "Explainer" post by Alex Cohen and Wilfred U. Codrington III which provides, not only the historical facts of the ERA, but many of the legal aspects as well.
Here is the current status on efforts in Congress.
WASHINGTON – Today, January 31, 2023, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Congresswomen Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Cori Bush (MO 01), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), unveiled a bicameral, joint resolution to affirm the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and take a critical step toward enshrining equality for women in the United States Constitution. The lawmakers’ resolution removes the arbitrary deadline for ratification of the ERA and recognizes the amendment as a valid part of the Constitution, with the 38-state threshold needed for ratification of the ERA having been met.
The lawmakers’ resolution is endorsed by nearly 300 grassroots and national organizations.
NOW HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO TO JOIN THE FIGHT FOR RATIFICATION OF THE ERA.
Here are four choices for tools you can use to contact your representatives. Each has different approaches but all are quite helpful and easy to use.
(1) Rogan's List <email@example.com> All the information for various ways to contact federal office holders and agencies.
(2) Resistbot Instructions for contacting multiple representatives at one time.
(3) Common Cause Put in your complete address and access a catalog of your federal, state and local representatives.
(4) Jessica Craven from Chop Wood, Carry Water Sign up and you will receive regular emails containing action items, a script to use along with a link to your legislators contact information.
What I hope you will do is put the information for your two Senators and one Congressperson in a handy place to access daily. Then everyday contact them that "it is way past time for the ERA to be added to the Constitution. Women deserve to have equal rights NOW!"
If enough of us tell them everyday, how can they refuse?
Now don't stop there. Save the information for the next time you need to contact your representatives on other matters. AND if you are really fired up about being an activist, share the information and your enthusiasm with friends and relatives. Yeh!