Women’s Equality Day
August 26th is Women’s Equality Day in the United States. It commemorates the passage of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
Here at Hare, Wynn, Newell, & Newton, we want to honor Women’s Equality Day by sharing the history of the 19th amendment and other legal landmarks in the struggle for women’s equality.
The Suffrage Movement and the 19th Amendment
Starting in the 1800s, women organized and protested for the right to vote. Victory took decades to achieve. Generations of supporters lectured, marched, lobbied, and protested.
An amendment to grant women the right to vote was first introduced in 1878. Advocates for women’s suffrage used different methods. Some pursued a strategy of passing women’s suffrage laws in each state. Nine western states adopted such laws by 1912.
Others challenged male-only voting rights in court. Some suffragists used more confrontational tactics such as picketing, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. They met strong opposition and were jailed, heckled, and sometimes even physically assaulted.
Nearly all major suffrage organizations had united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment by 1916. Women gained the right to vote in New York in 1917, and President Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918.
The amendment passed the House of Representatives on May 21, 2019. It passed the Senate two weeks later. Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, marking the agreement of three-fourths of the states necessary for ratification.
The secretary of state certified the ratification of the 19th amendment on August 16, 1920.
The 1960s and 1970s
The 1960s and 1970s saw many important milestones in the fight for women’s equality. In 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, prohibiting sex-based wage discrimination between men and women performing the same job in the same workplace.
After the passage of the 19th amendment, African-American women and men were still denied the right to vote in many parts of the country. This would change in the 1960s.
In 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. It banned segregation on the basis of race, religion, or national origin at all places of public accommodation, including courthouses, parks, hotels, restaurants, theatres, and sports arenas.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act barred race, religion, national origin, and gender discrimination by employers and labor unions and created an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with the power to file lawsuits on behalf of workers.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was a crucial milestone for women’s equality, as it led to the foundation of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Title VII became a means to protect women in collegiate athletics and other programs receiving federal funding from discrimination.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited literacy tests and other discriminatory voting practices used to disenfranchise African Americans and other minorities.
In 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments was signed by President Nixon. This forbids discrimination based on sex in educational programs receiving federal financial assistance.
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to an abortion is protected by the Constitution in Roe v. Wade.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933. She received her B.A. from Cornell University and would go on to be accepted by Harvard Law School. She ultimately completed her L.L.B. from Columbia Law School in 1959. Not surprisingly, she finished at the top of her graduating class.
Ginsburg was denied the first judicial clerkship she applied for with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals the year she graduated. She would go on to become a law professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963 and would remain in that position until 1972. One year later, she became general counsel for the A.C.L.U. and remained in that job until 1980. From 1979 until 1989, she was on the Executive Committee for the American Bar Association and was appointed to the bench for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. in 1980.
In 1993, Ginsburg was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. She would remain a supreme court justice until her death on September 18th of last year.
About Hare Wynn
At Hare Wynn, we are committed to helping individuals from every walk of life stand up for their rights and fight for the justice they deserve. For more than 130 years, our firm has helped people navigate the legal system after suffering serious injuries.
Regardless of how devastating your situation is, our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers in Birmingham is prepared to fight for you. Call us at 800-568-5330 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation today.
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