Ninety-nine years ago today, the 19th Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. It was a major milestone in the history of our democracy and a hard-fought victory for white women, but women of color were left behind over the ensuing decades. As the Hill writes, the 19th Amendment should not be romanticized.
This year, as we mark Women’s Equality Day, some current headline makers (Melinda Gates, Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, and others) are using the opportunity to remind the world of that shadow that still lingers over the amendment’s passing. They are shining a light on the achievements of African-American suffragists, like Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Mary Church Terrell, women who fought for equality on two fronts. These women deserve to have their place in U.S. history alongside Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul, who, according to the American National Biography entry, told Terrell that “the rights of black women were not important to the cause.” History has proven her very wrong.
Some are also calling to continue the mission laid out at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, according to Time. The convention called for not only a women’s right to vote, but for a wide range of rights—including education, economic rights, the right to a good job, and the right to own property. Women are still battling for equality on many of those fronts, highlighted by the ongoing wage gap, and the Equal Rights Amendment is still short of ratification.
This Women’s Equality Day, mark the occasion by not only singing the praises of previously unsung heroes, but also by fighting for equality for all women—and on all fronts:
Some will tell you that the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. The truth is that it only gave some women—namely, white women—that right. On #WomensEqualityDay, let’s recommit to a vision of equality that includes ALL women. #EqualityCantWait https://t.co/63CdFQyOHH
— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) August 26, 2019
99 years ago today, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving white women the right to vote. Women of color had to wait much longer.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 26, 2019
A record number of women serve in Congress today, but we're far from equal representation in government.
Let's celebrate our progress and recommit to electing more women at every level of government — including the White House. #WomensEqualityDay
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 26, 2019
Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution — an important milestone in the march toward equality. We honor the courageous women who fought for this right and the many more who carry the cause forward today. #WomensEqualityDay ????????♀️????????♀️????????♀️????????♀️????????♀️
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 26, 2019
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) August 26, 2019
Women are half the population.
Issues that ensure our economic security—paid leave, equal pay, affordable childcare—are not just side issues or “women’s issues.”
And our rights are nonnegotiable.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) August 26, 2019
The suffrage movement did not achieve the right to vote for all women. Black women waited more than 40 years and continue to fight for enfranchisement now with voter suppression. We must ensure the ability to participate in the process that impacts our lives! #WomensEqualityDay pic.twitter.com/UEaODLR068
— SisterSong (@SisterSong_WOC) August 26, 2019
As we prepare to send the first woman to the Moon by 2024, we honor #WomenAtNASA who contribute to knowledge, exploration and discovery. Celebrate #WomensEqualityDay with us and learn about trailblazers who inspire: https://t.co/QH065xt105 pic.twitter.com/yWi65TYLkN
— NASA (@NASA) August 26, 2019
On #WomensEqualityDay, I'm proud of all the women and girls who are out there empowering others in their communities to make their voices heard. Thank you all for the work you’re doing, and I hope you'll share your story with @USOWomen and @WhenWeAllVote! https://t.co/DyNel8uHtG
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) August 26, 2019
#HappyBirthday to mathematician Katherine Johnson, who turns 101 today. Her contributions to the space program, detailed in @margotshetterly's "Hidden Figures," continue to inspire us, especially today on #WomensEqualityDay.
— NASA History Office (@NASAhistory) August 26, 2019
On #WomensEqualityDay don't use words for women like 'empower' and 'celebrate'. Use words like 'hire', 'promote', 'pay', 'raise', 'bonus', 'invest', 'fund', 'enrich' – and DO IT. Leaders, ask for that employee pay spreadsheet, find the women, raise their pay to the same as men's pic.twitter.com/GW5UH8Gyvs
— Cindy Gallop (@cindygallop) August 26, 2019