In a unanimous vote, the Long Beach City Council directed the city attorney to draft a resolution in support of Women’s Equality Day for this coming August 26, the day that marks the 95th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, also referred to as women’s suffrage, gave women in this country the right to vote after its passage in 1920. Since 1972, every August 26th has been proclaimed Women’s Equality Day by every U.S. President to commemorate the historic civil rights achievement.
In his proclamation last year, President Barack Obama said that his administration was committed to tearing down any remaining barriers that deny equal opportunity to females. He pointed to recent motions by his staff to bridge these gaps, like hosting the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, aimed at helping working parents not have to choose between careers and childcare, and a task force to help protect students from sexual assault.
“We know that when women and girls are free to pursue their own measure of happiness in all aspects of their lives, they strengthen our families, enrich our communities, and better our country,” Obama said. “We know that when women succeed, America succeeds.”
Special programs and activities are hosted across the country at workplaces, civic and governmental bodies and public facilities to celebrate women gaining the right to vote.
Fifth District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, one of the four women on the council who presented the item for a vote, said that once the resolution is drafted and returned to the council for vote in the coming weeks, there would be some “exciting announcements” regarding what the City of Long Beach has planned.
“This is the commemoration of the 19th Amendment to the United States [Constitution] that allowed women the opportunity to vote and it’s really important for us to recognize this historic occasion,” Mungo said.
Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal agreed that it was important to celebrate the day and the council should uphold any day that brings equity to people. However, she noted that while women have gained an expansion of rights since the 1920s, real struggles still exist today and have yet to be resolved.
“Among the measures of a just and civil society I think that most of us believe that the treatment of women is considered a very important milestone,” Lowenthal said. “We often take that for granted when we live in developed societies but I don’t think we can take that for granted. The 19th Amendment represented a turning point in a very male dominated society and political structure, however, we still struggle for equal pay, for equal work and qualifications as well as update family leave laws.”