DSCC celebrates 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote

By Federal Women’s Program Defense Federal Community Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity

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The Defense Federal Community Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Federal Women’s Program observes Women’s Equality Day. This year’s theme is “Women’s Right to Vote.” August 26 marks the anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement’s greatest victory – women achieving full voting rights following the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 100 years ago.

The women’s suffragist movement was successful because a group of women – and men – came together to promote change and challenged the nation to live up to its founding principles. They demanded that rules written by men, for men, be reformed. Changing the Constitution was a lengthy and difficult struggle.  Activists lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied and protested in an effort to achieve full equality with men.

In 1848, the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York, led by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

By March of 1920, 35 states had approved the amendment, one state shy of the two-thirds needed to pass.  The vote came down to Tennessee.  Tennessee was divided 48–48 on the bill.  The tie was broken by representative Harry Burn, the youngest member of the House, who had been wearing a red anti-suffrage rose.  He changed his vote after he received a letter from his mother urging him to “be a good boy” and vote for women’s rights.  On August 26, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to vote “yay,” ratifying the 19th Amendment into law. 

In 1971, Congress passed legislation to officially recognize August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day.  As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day together, let us remember, the legacy of brave women who served, and continue to serve, our nation and the Department of Defense, further inspiring us to strive for liberty and equality for all Americans. 

For additional DEOMI products and Facts of the Day please visit their website at: www.deomi.org  If you would like more information or are interested in joining the EEO Federal Women’s Program committee please contact the Chair, Deonna Coleman by email: Deonna.Coleman@dla.mil or Coordinator, Jessica Bradhurst Jessica.Bradhurst@dla.mil.