Women’s Equality Day and the Notorious RBG
Women’s Equality Day was created to commemorate the day the Nineteenth Amendment was adopted, giving women the right to vote. This day of remembrance and celebration was set in the 1970s, but the fight for equal opportunity started way before.
The Ongoing Journey for Women’s Rights
The women’s suffrage movement started in earnest in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention, led by abolitionists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. They worked with Mary Ann McClintock, Martha Wright, and Jane Hunt, publishing a flier in the Seneca County Courier that read,
“A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women will be held in the Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca Falls, N.Y., on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19th and 20th of July current; commencing at 10 o’clock A.M. During the first day the meeting will be exclusively for women, who are earnestly invited to attend. The public generally are invited to be present on the second day, when Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other ladies and gentlemen, will address the Convention.”
Stanton drafted a Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances, modeled after the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal…” The flier caught the attention of approximately 200 women. Then, in 1872, Susan B. Anthony tried to vote in New York and Sojourner Truth attempted to vote in Michigan; both were denied the chance.
The suffragettes refused to take this and marched on New York and Washington, D.C. in 1912 and 1913. The 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, which gave women the right to vote. (Unfortunately, this did not include women of color.) There were other barriers as well; the Supreme Court ruled in 1922 that those of Japanese descent could neither become citizens nor vote. Native Americans could not vote, and literacy tests barred African Americans from the polling booths as well. Many of these barriers remained until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed.
The Notorious RBG
Ruth Bader Ginsberg — also known as the Notorious RBG — is a superstar of the Supreme Court of the United States. She recently celebrated her 25th year on the highest court, and CNN plans to ring in this anniversary by showing her eponymous documentary (aptly titled “RBG”) on September 3 at 9 pm. Want to learn more? There’s a podcast called “Beyond Notorious” that examines her personal and professional milestones. She’s exercised on national television with Stephen Colbert. She has literal action figures and bobble heads. Somehow, her public relations team took what most would consider a dry, boring job and turned it into national popularity.
Despite the way her judicial career has developed, RBG had difficulties early on. It didn’t matter that she graduated from Harvard and Columbia at the top of her class and had a list of qualifications as long as your arm; she was still passed over for clerkships and law firm positions. She practiced law as a women’s rights attorney instead until she became a judge in the federal appeals court system. As the second woman to ever be appointed on the Supreme Court, she continues to fight discrimination; it was actually her judicial opinion that forced the Virginia Military Institute to admit women.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg has been a beacon for all who are facing injustices and inequality. She has fought against discrimination based on gender, mental illness or disability, nationality, and religion, and it does not look like she is stopping anytime soon. The battle for equal rights is still ongoing, and the Notorious RBG’s blistering judicial opinions still touch on this topic far more often than they should.
Women’s Equality Day
Orange Legal is proud to be a company owned by women who are strong, brilliant, and capable. The featured image in this article showcases only a few of them. Without the work and efforts of women like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Susan B. Anthony, Orange Legal would not be where we are today. So on August 26th, we recognize the progress that has been made and the amazing women who have made it happen, but also the continued efforts towards equality.
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