10 Action Ideas for Women’s Equality Day

2678367136_6fa96e3d11While today may seem like an ordinary day, it’s not. It’s National Women’s Equality Day!

The holiday, which began in 1971 at the urging of Rep. Bella Abzug, formally recognizes the passage of the 19th Amendment and women finally winning the vote. According to the joint resolution of Congress that created National Women’s Equality Day:

August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and 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.

Past presidential proclamations have ranged from simply discussing the history of the women’s movement to more nuanced conversations about civil rights to announcing new legislation to protect women in the workplace. Interestingly, Democratic presidents tend to go into more depth about their specific policies to address the inequality that women across the country still face than Republicans.

If you want to do more than just read a presidential proclamation, here are 10 ways to recognize Women’s Equality Day with the feminists in your life!

  1. Hold a 19th Amendment Party. Teach your guests about the women’s suffrage movement, play fun games like pin the ballot on the voting box and maybe even drink some fun 1920s-themed drinks. It’ll be the new Galentine’s Day!
  2. Watch the amazing feminist parodies of “Blurred Lines” and celebrate all the clever ways women have subverted the message of summer’s least feminist song.
  3. Have a dance party to “Run the World (Girls).”
  4. Watch a movie with Ellen PageToni ColletteMark Ruffalo and other actors who are proud to be a feminist.
  5. Re-watch Disney’s Mary Poppins; Mrs. Banks was a suffragette after all, and there are plenty of feminist scenes, such as this one.
  6. Check out HerVotes to see what legislative work still lies ahead. Call your congressperson and ask her or him to support feminist-supported bills, such as Jackie Speier’s STOP Act.
  7. Take inspiration from the Paris mayoral race and run for public office. Or, support strong women candidates who will fight for women’s issues.
  8. Remember that several state legislatures are trying to restrict people’s right to vote. Call your local state representative and remind them that all Americans of voting age deserve the right to vote.
  9. Donate to a feminist politician of your choice.
  10. Read the new issue of Ms.!


382532_10150947191923542_1633266697_n Amelia Rosch is an intern at Ms. magazine and a student at Dartmouth College.


  1. Jess Doyle says:

    Mary Poppins makes a mockery of the suffragettes! Mrs Banks is feeble character who relies on her husband’s guidance constantly. At the end of the film she produces her suffragette’s sashes and announces they’d make a pretty tail for the children’s kite. The implication is that her time would be better spent at home being a good wife and mother. This is not a feminist film!

    • I agree that Mary Poppins is not a feminist film. We need to watch the powerful Iron Jawed Angels, which shows the violence that American suffragists endured on the streets, in the courts and in prison so that women could exercise their inherent right to vote. I’m quite depressed that Iron Jawed Angels was never mentioned and I feel very sad when people are say that women were given the right to vote.

      I guarantee that after you see Iron Jawed Angels, you will never say that “women were given the right to vote” again.

  2. “Hold a party” would not be my first recommendation. “Take the next step for women” should be at the top of the list. Not only are voting rights in severe danger, but the Equal Rights Amendment has STILL not been ratified by FIFTEEN states in this country – and it’s been around for 35+ years! We *must* get this passed and show a basic foundation of respect for women that goes well beyond the ballot. Let’s inspire and strengthen our future generations.

  3. At the top of the list should be, “Insist that the media give Women’s Equality Day the respect it deserves.” Very few media outlets recognize Women’s Equality Day and almost none of them pay homage to the violence that American suffragists endured so that we could vote. Even progressive zines like The Nation ignore Women’s Equality Day. A huge insult.

    On each and every Women’s Equality Day, we need to pay homage to the suffragists who went to prison, were treated violently and subject to cruel psychiatric exams. We need to celebrate Alice Paul and the Silent Sentinels who peacefully picketed the White House and were arrested and sent to prison. It is misogynistic to forget the sacrifices of the suffragists.

    Women’s Equality Day was never intended to be a “You’ve come a long way, baby” type of celebration. It was intended to honor the accomplishments of yesterday’s feminists and give us all the courage to move forward.

  4. Over the past 93 years since the 19th amendment, women’s progress seems to sometimes take one step forward, 2 steps back. A perfect example of that was during WWII when no effort was spared to get women out of their homes and into overalls and take over the jobs left vacant by the men who had gone off to fight the war. Performing superbly in jobs traditionally held by men, women kept Americans war programs going at top speed. But by 1945 Uncle Sam was whistling a different tune and a massive campaign was launched to get Rosie the Riveter back to her home and housewife duties. Ads that once featured women engaged in war work now featured happy homemakers. For a look at some of these vintage ads and to see how Rosie the Riveter got her pink slip


  5. Linda Avila says:

    On this day in 1972 women in NYC took to the streets for a March for Equality. We should be taking to the streets every year on this date until we have it – in pay, in respect, in position, in marriage, in any sexual relationship, and before the law! We marched then for an Equal Rights Amendment and we still have not got it!

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