Women's Equality Day, 2021

CourtExecutive Office Of The President
Citation86 FR 48479
Publication Date31 Aug 2021
Record Number2021-18921
Presidential Documents
Federal Register
Vol. 86, No. 166
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Title 3—
The President
Proclamation 10239 of August 26, 2021
Women’s Equality Day, 2021
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
Today, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, a reminder not only of the
progress women have won through the years, but of the important work
that remains to be done. One hundred and one years ago, the ratification
of the 19th Amendment moved our Nation one essential step closer to
fulfilling its foundational promise—establishing at long last that no Ameri-
can’s right to vote could be denied or abridged on the basis of gender.
As we reflect on the decades-long effort to win the fight for universal
suffrage, we also remember the women of color who helped lead the move-
ment to ratify the 19th Amendment, whose own rights would still be denied
for years to come despite their hard-earned victory. We celebrate their extraor-
dinary courage and resolve, and rededicate ourselves to the work we still
have ahead of us to protect voting rights across our country.
When the 19th Amendment was ratified, millions of women across the
country could finally make their voices heard at the ballot box. But even
with its ratification, millions were denied those rights by law or by practice
through poll taxes, literacy tests, and campaigns of violence and terror
that targeted voters of color. It took another 45 years before the Voting
Rights Act secured the voting rights of millions of Americans of color,
and an additional 10 years before voting protections would reflect the many
languages Americans speak.
Through these measures and others, our country has taken major strides
to strengthen voting rights and expand access to make it easier for Americans
to exercise their sacred right to vote. These victories have been especially
vital for women, who often face increased caregiving demands and take
on a disproportionate amount of low-wage and inflexible work—making
it harder to take time off to vote in-person or wait out longer lines at
the polls. Women are also disproportionately impacted by voter ID laws—
especially married women who change their names, or those whose IDs
do not accurately reflect their gender.
Efforts to improve voting access have paid off; in 2020, we witnessed the
greatest number of votes ever cast in American history. And one barrier
that had stood for more than two centuries was finally dismantled with
the inauguration of America’s first woman Vice President, Kamala Harris.
But the struggle to ensure that every American is able to exercise their
right to vote continues, especially for women of color. In the years prior
to the 2020 election and in the months since, we have seen a wave of
shameless attacks on voting—burdening a constitutional right with obstacles
that overwhelmingly impact voters of color, low-income communities, and
people with disabilities. These tactics are nothing new. But they are an
affront to our most cherished values and rights as a Nation.
As I have said before, some things in America should be simple and straight-
forward. Perhaps the most important—the most fundamental—is the right
to vote and to vote freely. With it, anything is possible. Without it, nothing
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Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 166 / Tuesday, August 31, 2021 / Presidential Documents
My Administration is committed to bearing out the promise of the suffragists,
who understood that for women to attain true equality in our country,
they must have an equal place at the ballot box. As the Vice President
has said, the status of women is the status of democracy. This is true
abroad, too, where we are committed to strengthening women’s political
participation and leadership around the world.
In fulfillment of my Administration’s commitment to equality for all, we
are focused not only on the sacred right to vote, but on making sure that
all Americans have the opportunity to fully participate in our society. It
is long past time we pass the Equal Rights Amendment, to enshrine the
principle of gender equality in our Constitution, because no one’s rights
should be denied on account of sex. On Women’s Equality Day, we recognize
the unique challenges and barriers women face, and the rights that need
defending and strengthening. These rights include a woman’s constitutional
right to reproductive freedom and access to health care, regardless of zip
code or income—and the right of every woman and girl to live free from
violence, whether online, in the home, at school, or in the workplace.
To ensure that women are treated fairly in our economy and in the workforce,
we are also committed to fighting for pay equity, combating discrimination
in the workplace, and passing family-friendly policies that help women
and all of us manage caregiving and career responsibilities.
Today, as we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, we recognize the pioneers
whose fight for suffrage paved the way for future generations of leaders—
and we recognize our duty to continue that fight to ensure that our daughters
can enjoy the same rights and opportunities as our sons. Let us honor
the efforts of trailblazers and barrier-breakers with meaningful action to
promote gender equality and make exercising the right to vote more equitable
and accessible for all.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution
and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 26, 2021,
as Women’s Equality Day. I call upon the people of the United States
to celebrate and continue to build on our country’s progress towards gender
equality, and to defend and strengthen the right to vote.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth
day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and
of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred
and forty-sixth.
[FR Doc. 2021–18921
Filed 8–30–21; 8:45 am]
Billing code 3295–F1–P
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