Women’s Equality Day is celebrated every year on August 26 to commemorate the 19th Amendment in the United States of America that provides equal rights to the women. This amendment granted equal voting rights to men and women.
Now, it has become an international celebration and women across the world celebrate this day as an equality day. In India, various institutions organise debates, competitions, get-together etc to celebrate this day. This day calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.
History of Women’s Equality Day
The U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day in 1971, this day was selected to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. It was for the first time in the USA when women of America were first given the right to vote.
Voting Rights to women in India
It was British rule (1921) when Madras state granted women’s suffrage (right of women to vote in elections) for the first time in India. In 1950, universal suffrage granted voting rights to all women. In our constitution voting rights to women is mentioned in Article 326. In 1962 elections, the rate of participation among women was 46.63% for Lok Sabha elections and rose to a high in 1984 of 58.60%. Male turnout during that same period was 63.31% in 1962 and 68.18% in 1984.
Women leadership in politics
Political participation has a wide meaning but if we talk about women’s leadership, India has a better track record then many other countries. India, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, and Denmark have elected women presidents but the US has elected no woman president till date. According to the reports, India is on 20th position in the world in terms of representation of women in Parliament. Also, the Constitution of India provides various powers to women that attempts to remove gender inequalities by banning discrimination based on sex and class, prohibiting human trafficking, and reserving elected positions for women.