By Rhonda Ward, AEDC/PA
/ Published August 22, 2012
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. --
It was a long, hard-fought "battle" that began in 1848 and didn't end until 1920. It was won in Nashville when a 24-year-old legislator voted for the ratification of the 19th Amendment after being urged by his mother to do so.
Because of his vote, women in America have the right to vote in each election. Some feel that they don't need to vote because one vote won't make a difference. However, as evidenced by the ratification of the 19th Amendment, one vote can change the lives of many. It doesn't matter whether you vote Democrat, Republican, etc. What is important is that you exercise your right and vote in the upcoming local and presidential elections.
The 19th Amendment reads: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex, and that the Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation..."
Several employees at AEDC were asked the following question "What does Women's Equality Day mean to you?" Below are their responses.
"Women's Equality Day, for me, is a celebration of America recognizing that each of its citizens have the right and privilege to vote, regardless of sex. As is often the case, the longer we have had the privilege to do something, the more likely we are to forget about the time when we, or others, might not have had that privilege. It is a day for us to remember that there was a time in the United States when not every citizen had the same right and privilege to vote--to have a say in who leads our nation. Maybe the more we are reminded of the time women did not have the same rights as men to vote, the more we will try to make sure it does not happen in other aspects of life in our society. And, maybe we will all realize that it is a privilege we enjoy because we are all citizens together." Clay Dye, ATA
"Women's Equality Day means I was given the right to pursue whatever I desire. The right to vote was the first step in the right direction for equality and has allowed women to help make the world a better place for society as a whole." Sara Rozell, AF
"It reminds me of the history of how the women really suffered in order for us to vote. As women especially, we should honor these women by making sure we exercise our right to vote. I don't think I would have had the courage to do what they did to give me this right." Gayle Wasson, ATA
"I look at Aug 26th, Women's Equality Day, as the first stepping stone for women to achieve the right to vote which led to the second stepping stone to embrace the idea that women's rights can mean so much more to help both men and women's perceptions of what women have and are capable of accomplishing." Julie Lance, AF
"To me Women's Equality Day is designed to emphasize that my three daughters deserve the same opportunities as my son." Jere Matty, AF
"We have come from a very long ways, especially the women of color. There is still work to be done. In my opinion, Equality Day marks the era of a new beginning for women to celebrate achievements and goals, regardless of their race, color or creed. Starting today, let's "All Women" continue standing to make this world a better place for Women's Equality. We are certainly over due." Wilsie Ford, ATA
"For me Women's Equality Day serves as a reminder that we cannot take freedom for granted. We must always remember that it is possible for fundamental rights to be stripped from us for unjust reasons, and it is up to us to remain vigilant and ready to fight for our freedom whenever necessary." Angela Kelley, AF
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on 26 August 1920. In 1971 a Joint Resolution of Congress designated 26 August of each year as Women's Equality Day.
(Rhonda M. Ward is AEDC's Federal Women's Program Manager.)