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News | Sept. 18, 2018

Women’s Equality Day observed across the DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan

By Rieko Hatano DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan

DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan celebrated Women's Equality Day by bringing display information and educational material to each of the buildings across the Yokosuka facilities. Each directorate and branch displayed educational posters, in both English and Japanese, and had handouts and bookmarks available at each location for individuals to take with them from August 13 to 26. 

During this same period, the facility was used for the Government of Japan’s annual health assessment which allowed employees from other commands the opportunity to learn about Women’s Equality.  These included Navy Facilities, Yokosuka, Fleet Logistics Center, Yokosuka, and Ships Repair Facility, Yokosuka.  

Women's Equality Day is in honor of the passing of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The amendment became law on August 26th, 1920 and Congress declared August 26th Women's Equality Day in 1971. However, this year August 26th was on Sunday so the Yokosuka Distribution site chose to honor the day beforehand. Technically, there is no Women's Equality Day in Japan, but this event provided the command with an opportunity to let employees learn about the Women's Suffrage movement in Japan as well.

History in the making in Japan
On December 17th, 1945, shortly after the end of World War II, Japanese women were granted the right to vote. In the 1946 election, the first in which women voted in Japan, 67 percent of eligible women voted. Thirty-nine women ran for and were elected to the House of Representatives.

Women's Suffrage movement in Japan
From the Meiji period to the Taisho democracy, the momentum for seeking women's suffrage was gradually increasing. Following the founding of Seito-sha (the Bluestockings) by Raicho Hiratsuka, the New Woman Association (founded in 1919), which was headed by Hiratsuka, Fusae Ichikawa and Mumeo Oku, and the Japan Women's Suffrage Association (founded in 1921, later renamed the Japan Woman's Christian Suffrage Association) headed by Tsuneko Gauntlett and Ochimi Kubushiro, began actively campaigning for women's suffrage. Subsequently, the major suffrage groups united to form the Women's Suffrage League (founded 1923) and the Association for the Winning of Women's Suffrage (founded 1924, later renamed the League for the Winning of Women's Suffrage) and began implementing further campaigns.  All these activities by early Suffragettes, led to the creation of the Women’s Equality movement after WWII.