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What Women's Equality Day Is All About—and Why It Matters

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Each spring, we celebrate International Women's Day and Equal Pay Day, two holidays that aim to increase awareness about women's rights and wage equality. However, there is another holiday on August 26th that hones in further on the fight for equal rights — Women's Equality Day.

Sometimes, the amount of international and domestic holidays can be overwhelming and a bit confusing. Why are there so many of them? And what exactly are we even celebrating?

To clarify, Women's Equality Day is a celebration of the 19th Amendment, an event that granted some women the right to vote in 1920. Despite this Amendment's ratification, Black, indigenous, and people of Asian ancestry were still not allowed to cast a ballot until much later — Native Americans were granted the vote in 1924, Chinese immigrants in 1943, and Black Americans were finally granted the right vote with the passing of the Voting Right's Act of 1965.

So, despite the fact that white women initially profited from the 19th amendment, the celebration of this occasion symbolizes the continuous struggle for women's equality for all women in the present day.

Now that we know a little bit more about this holiday, let's take a look at some good ways to celebrate!

1. Register to vote and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

It's crucial that we continue exercising our right to vote, not just federally but locally as well.

The first step is to register to vote. You can start by checking out your current registration status at vote.gov. From there, you can figure out what your next steps are if you haven't already registered.

2. Read up on voter rights today.

Voting eligibility continues to be an issue in the United States. So, while it's important to celebrate the suffragettes and historical strides that have been made for voting access, there remains contention within the legal system, particularly right now in Texas, as to the eligibility of swaths of potential voters. Do your research, know your rights, stay active.

3. Acknowledge how far we've come; remember how far we have to go.

Women's Equality Day is a great opportunity to take a look at this country's history and reflect on how far we have come as a nation. However, it's also a good time to consider how much work there remains to be done, in particular, with regards to workplace equality.

So, this year, let's make some space to appreciate all the women before us who have fought for our rights, and the women who continue to carry the torch.

But let's also remember the many ways our historical fights for gender equality have excluded women of color, and commit to more inclusive movements as we work to make the world even better — for all women and girls.

(Illustration by Ludmila Leiva)

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