The nation will celebrate the 51st anniversary of Women’s Equality Day, which was designated by Congress in 1971, Aug. 26, with the theme “Thank the women in your life.”

Aug. 26 was selected as Women’s Equality Day because of its significance of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. This year will be the 102nd anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

When I think about women fighting for equality, I’ve always pondered why they had to fight for the rights, which were guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. It would take a Women’s Rights Movement on July 13, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York — 60 years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified — to change the thinking that women were second-class citizens.

In the preamble of the Declaration of Independence it reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” However, the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote even though the Ninth Amendment had already granted the right to vote. Although women were supposed to be equal to their male counterparts, women weren’t considered equal until 1920 — when the right to vote was granted.

Even though women were not considered equal, they have fought in America’s wars dating back to the Revolutionary War, where they couldn’t serve, but given auxiliary roles instead of fighting on the battlefield.

For example, during the Revolutionary, Civil and Mexican Wars, a small number of women were involved in combat, but they had to disguise themselves as men and enlist under aliases. Deborah Samson Gannett, from Plymouth, Massachusetts, was one of the first American woman Soldiers. In 1782, she enlisted under the name of her deceased brother, Robert Shurtleff Samson. For 17 months, Samson served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. She was wounded twice. She even cut a musket ball out of her own thigh so a doctor wouldn’t find out she was a woman. Years later, in 1804, Samson was awarded a pension for her service. Also, during the Revolution War, in 1776, Margaret Corbin fought alongside her husband and 600 American Soldiers as they defended Fort Washington, New York, according to

During World War II, women began taking jobs for the war effort and the National Labor Board advised employers to adjust women’s salaries comparable to men who worked in similar operations, but this was done only if the employer volunteered to do so, according to the same website.

Since it wasn’t mandatory, employers didn’t increase a woman’s wage and by the end of the war, they were replaced by returning veterans.

For women to receive equal pay, it would again take an act, which was passed June 10, 1963. The Equal Pay Act said it was illegal to pay women lower rates for the same job strictly based on their sex .

There were two court cases in the 1970s, which not only strengthened the Equal Pay Act, but the cases would also define what it meant.

I still wonder if there is a disparity between men and women in the workforce. Are women still being treated as second-class citizens? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no, because I’m often told I have the same opportunities and equality as my male counterparts. However, there is a part of me that believes I’m still not totally equal or have the same opportunities.

The gender-based wage gap in the United States has narrowed in recent years, but disparities remain: national median earnings for civilians who worked fulltime, year-round in the past 12 months was $53,544 for men compared to $43,394 for women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

Women are more likely than men to become teachers, and teachers are paid less than other college graduates. In addition, a woman’s choice to start a family is a factor in the gender gap.

Once a woman decides to have a family, she might work less hours during her pregnancy and take time off after giving birth. If she decided to take a few years off, doing so will also widen the gap.

Taking time away from the workforce or working fewer hours are more common for mothers than fathers and hurts earnings. The American Association of University Women found that 10 years after graduation, 23% of mothers were out of the workforce, and 17% worked part time. Among fathers, only 1% were out of the workforce, and only 2% worked part time .

Although some might believe the strides women are making are coming at a snail’s pace, the Department of Defense is once again leading the way. Women are allowed to join the Army in jobs that were once only for men, and women can now attend the Army Ranger School, with 100 women having graduated from Army Ranger School since 2015.

Active-duty brigade combat teams for infantry, armor, and field artillery units include female Soldiers. The Army is succeeding at assessing women into the fold.

After hearing this, I’m very optimistic about the future. If men continue to support us and remain our ally, I know my two daughters have a fighting chance of being seen equal to men, and maybe we will no longer need an act or amendment to treat women equal to men.

Women's Equality Day
The nation will celebrate the 51st anniversary of Women’s Equality Day, which was designated by Congress in 1971, Aug. 26, with the theme “Thank the women in your life.” (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of DEOMI) VIEW ORIGINAL