August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, the annual celebration of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted voting rights to women — though women of color remained largely disenfranchised until the 1960s. In observance of that historic day and the ongoing fight for gender equality, AAUW and the Newseum have planned special activities.
From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, Newseum visitors will have the opportunity to make suffragist buttons and sashes, enjoy a photo booth, and browse an outdoor exhibit on women’s suffrage. AAUW will also collect sign-ups for a new advocacy tool, Two-Minute Activist mobile, which allows users to advocate for gender equity from their cell phones. Visitors can download a coupon for 50 percent off admission or see the museum at no cost if they come dressed in suffragist-themed costume.
“We are a community of activists committed to advancing equity for all women,” said AAUW Chief Executive Officer Kimberly Churches. “In recent years, AAUW has proudly worked with the Newseum to raise awareness around suffragists and gender equity trailblazers. We know that their stories will inspire new audiences and keep all of us motivated not just to vote in every election but to remain engaged in progress at all levels.”
In 2014, AAUW partnered with the Newseum on Women, Their Rights, and Nothing Less. The learning module explores how suffragists embraced the First Amendment as a tool to help achieve passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Still, it would take decades before all citizens could freely vote. Native Americans could not vote in Utah until 1956 and many states impeded black women from voting until the 1960s. The roots of discrimination in voting rights remain to this day as voter suppression has become a major concern, one that organizations like AAUW have taken up through advocacy work.
“The Newseum is honored to partner with AAUW on commemorating the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment,” said Barbara McCormack, the vice president of education for the Newseum. “Suffragists and the success of their movement are an example of how the First Amendment can be used as a tool to peaceably enact change for the common good.”