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August 26th is Women's Equality day in the United States. It was on this date in 1920 that passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was adopted and thus became U.S. law. It was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York.
The observance of Women’s Equality Day also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality, not only in the U.S. but around the globe.
"In no society are women treated equally yet," said Hillary Rodham Clinton during a trip to Asia in February. "I believe strongly that if women are not full participants in society, the society does not advance the way that it could. And if women are denied their rights, it affects children, families and the entire social structure."
Around the world, societies rely on women’s work, in the home and outside of it. Women work in every profession that men do, and very often shoulder the majority of household and childcare duties as well. Yet their labor is often not valued by society, historians or politicians. They are the segment of the population most likely to be abused and exploited, their rights as human beings disregarded.
"As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace everywhere in the world, as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled, subjected to violence in and outside their homes -- the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized," said Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1995, at the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.
"Let us ... create a world in which every woman is treated with respect and dignity, every boy and girl is loved and cared for equally, and every family has the hope of a strong and stable future," said Hillary Clinton. ... "That is the work before all of us who have a vision of the world we want to see -- for our children and our grandchildren."