Celebrating Women’s Equality Day 2023 ~ August 26th




Suffrage envoys from San Francisco greeted in New Jersey on their way to Washington to present a petition to Congress Suffrage envoys from San Francisco greeted containing more than 500,000 signatures. C. 1915. Image via Library of Congress

‘Accelerating Equality and Empowerment‘ is the theme for 2023 Women’s Equality Day. It is a celebration of achievements, and an awareness of the constant struggle to maintain the rights women already have. Or is it Women’s INequality Day, since the U.S. now ranks 43rd in gender equality.

Take a look back at the history of Women’s Equality Day.

Fire at the National Women’s Party Headquarters, with the ‘Sufs’ promptly removing all records, c. 1920. Image via library of congress

Women’s Equality Day, celebrated every August 26, commemorates the passage of women’s suffrage in the U.S. and reminds us of the hurdles overcome by the heroic women who faced violence and discrimination to propel the women’s movement forward.

In the early 19th century, American women, who generally couldn’t inherit property and made half of a man’s wages in any available jobs, began organizing to demand political rights and representation.

By the early 1900s, several countries including Finland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom had legalized voting for women as the movement continued to sweep across the world. In the U.S., the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was first introduced in 1878, but it failed to gain traction. It wasn’t until women’s involvement in the World War I effort made their contributions painfully obvious that women’s suffrage finally gained enough support. Women’s rights groups pointed out the hypocrisy of fighting for democracy in Europe while denying it to half of the American citizens at home.

Because a Constitutional amendment requires approval from two-thirds of the states, 36 of them had to ratify the 19th Amendment before its passage. The deciding vote in the Tennessee legislature came from Harry T. Burn, a young state representative whose mother’s plea to support the amendment became a deciding factor in his vote (which he switched at the last minute).

Women aren’t done fighting for equal rights. Today, the wage gap between men and women still impacts women’s economic power, and gender-based discrimination still plagues workplaces and business transactions.

To remind us of the struggles of the past, present, and future, Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day in 1971.

Women suffragists picketing in front of the White House. Library of Congress.

Did you know that is was our own Bella Abzug (D-NY) who presented the bill in 1971 designating August 26th as Women’s Equality Day? Finally, Women’s Equality Day was designated by the U.S. Congress on August 26, 1973, commemorating the 19th Amendment.

Here are a few suggestions on how to spend Women’s Equality Day:

Visit the Park that Bears Her Name ~ Bella Abzug Park

Bella Abzug Park

Honoring the memory of feminist, civil rights activist, lawyers and U.S. Representative, Bella Abzug (1920-1998), the park is connected to Hudson Yards on West 36th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.


Monumental Women

The redesigned Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument featuring Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Rendering of the statue in its future Central Park location, image courtesy Monumental Women

Take a walk along Literary Row in Central Park and visit a monument dedicated to three incredible women who came before us ~ Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Get to know Monumental Women.

Installation for The Girl Puzzle in progress on Roosevelt Island. Image via prometheusart.com

Continue on to visit other monuments for women in our parks and public places.


Monument Women Created a Virtual Women’s Rights Trail

It is so important to learn about and honor the diverse contributions of New York City women to the advancement of women’s rights.  Use this map of the five boroughs to find and visit — either virtually or in-person — locations where women’s history was made!  This initial map will expand to include more women in all the boroughs.  Historians, librarians, educators and the public will help develop and enlarge the future scope of the Trail.


Visit the Center for Women’s History at New York Historical Society

Image taken 2017, New York Historical Society, Center for Women’s History

Here, Women’s History unearths the lives and legacies of women who have shaped and continue to shape the American experience with exhibitions and films. The Museum even offers scholarly resources for teachers. On view to July 7, 2024, Women’s Work.


Visit Pen + Brush

Pen + Brush, 29 East 22nd Street, NYC

This 129 year-old not-for-profit fights gender equity in the arts every day, providing a platform to showcase the work of women, non-binary and female-identified transgender artists and writers. Visit online or in person in their beautiful gallery located in the Flatiron District.


Living With Art Salon

On the wall, Preeti Varma. On the table, sculpture by Laurence Elle Groux

Living with Art Salon is a gallery with a primary focus on under-recognized women in the arts.  Catch the summer exhibition, The Summer Salon.  Living with Art Salon is located in the Mount Morris Historic District of Harlem.


Be Inspired by ‘Activist New York’ at The Museum of the City of New York

Artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya in front of her new mural, Raise Your Voice, at the Museum of the City of New York

Now entering its second decade, ‘Activist New York‘ examines the ways in which ordinary New Yorkers have advocated, agitated, and excised their power to shape the city’s ~ and the nation’s ~ future.


Visit The Sackler Center for Feminist Art at Brooklyn Museum

Judy Chicago (American, born 1939). The Dinner Party, 1974–79. Ceramic, porcelain, textile, 576 × 576 in. (1463 × 1463 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. (Photo: Donald Woodman)

Occupying the fourth floor, The Sackler Center for Feminist Art is an exhibition and education environment dedicated to feminist art, its past, present and future.


Visit the Lesbian Herstory Archives

Photo: Happy archives coordinators gathering for the opening of the new location in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Photo by Saskia Scheffer, 1993.

On November 22, 2022, LPC voted to approve The Lesbian Herstory Archives, located at 484 Fourteenth Street in Brooklyn, as an Individual Historic Landmark. It is the first individual landmark in Brooklyn designated for its LGBTQ+ associations.


Visit The Brooklyn Women’s Exchange

Founded in 1854, The Brooklyn Women’s Exchange is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run craft and gift shop supporting independent craftspeople from Brooklyn and beyond.. The Brooklyn Women’s Exchange is a member of the National Federation of Women’s Exchanges. The Brooklyn Women’s Exchange is now located at 137 Montague Street, between Henry and Clinton, in Brooklyn Heights.


Take a ride….. Southampton Arts Center Celebrates Female Collectors

Vanessa German, Hammer Head Rage Machine Agony Machine Baptism, 2019. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHRISTINE MACK

In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the Southampton Arts Centeris gearing up for an exhibition with a rather unique concept: to spotlight a group of powerful female arts patrons that are making waves in the art world. Collectors of course are an integral part of museum exhibitions—often generously lending their treasured artworks to make sure the curatorial concept can come to fruition. The exhibition is on view through September 30, 2023.


Get Out There and March!

Here’s a look-back to The Women’s March, NYC, 2018, with more than 200,000 protesters.


Who we’re following:

Emily’s List – the nation’s largest resource for women in politics

The National Organization of Women

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA)

UN Women

Girls Who Code

Girl Rising

The Lower East Side Girls Club

Women Who Draw

Monumental Women

Remember to support all Women Owned Businesses

Please feel free to add to our list


Purple is the color of the day, signifying justice, dignity, and gender equality.