ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- On Aug. 26, we will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote.Early suffragists spent years, in some cases entire lifespans, advocating for the right to vote.The first constitutional amendment to secure votes for women was introduced to congress in 1878. It failed.In 1919, the 19th Amendment was introduced to Congress, passed both the House and Senate and was ratified by 36 states by August of 1920, making women’s suffrage legal across the country.Alabama ratified the 19th Amendment Sept. 8, 1953.While many women were able to head to the polls, the amendment did not give voting rights to all women.Females of color, immigrants and lower income women were often deterred from voting by laws and social pressure. For example, Native American women were not considered U.S. citizens until 1924 and were not permitted to vote.A century after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, women are still advocating for their rights.This activism would be impossible without the power of the vote, which enables women to have a say in the democracy they live in.The 19th Amendment is a milestone in American history.The national observance recognizing Women’s Equality Day was established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1971.Since then, the observance has grown to include focusing attention the continued efforts toward gaining full equality for women.Empowerment is a critical step to gaining full equality. This includes:• Increasing sense of self-worth• Decision-making power• Access to opportunities and resources• Power and control over one’s own life inside and outside the home• The ability to effect changeKey focus areas are education, health and safety, and economics and politics.The Department of Defense Women’s Equality Day poster is the sixth in a series of posters commemorating the 75th Anniversary of World War II, featuring female iron chippers.The poster depicts an image of three women working in a shipyard, on the gangway opening of a side rail on a ship under construction.These women performed some of the toughest work on the American Home Front during World War II.It’s estimated as many as six million women joined the civilian work force during World War II, in both white and blue-collar jobs.Though progress was slow over the next two decades, serving their country in the military and at home empowered women to fight for the right to work in nontraditional jobs for equal pay and for equal rights in the workplace and beyond.Women in the Armed Forces, public service and government have long served this nation by working to clear barriers, enforce laws, implement new ideas and change people’s attitudes.Women’s Equality Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the many benefits of true equality and the role of women in our nation.Federal Resources for Women:• U.S. Commission on Civil Rights - - Serves as a national clearinghouse for information in respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin.• Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration - - Serves as a champion for women’s health. Works to correct gender disparities in drug, device and biologics testing and regulation policy; monitors progress of priority women’s health initiatives. Partners with government and consumer groups, health advocates, professional organizations and industry to promote women’s health.• Office of Women’s Business Ownership Entrepreneurial Development - - Promotes women-owned businesses through business training and technical assistance and provides access to credit and capital, federal contracts and international trade opportunities.• Center for Women Veterans - - Ensures female veterans have access to VA benefits and services on a par with male veterans; VA programs are responsive to gender-specific needs; outreach is performed to improve female veterans’ awareness of services, benefits and eligibility criteria; and female veterans are treated with dignity and respect.Sources: