By the President of the United States of America
On August 26th, 1920, American women finally gained the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment was certified as part of our Constitution.
Today, fifty-four years later, the women of America are actively participating in and contributing to all aspects of our economic, social and political life. Many obstacles on the road to equal opportunity have been removed as legislative and executive actions have helped to reduce sex discrimination in education, training and employment. Special efforts have been made in the Federal Government, so that women now contribute more fully than ever before to the formulation and execution of public policy.
But although we as a Nation have come a great distance since 1920, we still have a great distance to go. In 1970, on the floor of the House, I said that the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution was an idea whose time had come. Today I want to reaffirm my personal commitment to that amendment. The time for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment has come just as surely as did the time for the 19th Amendment.
As 1975 approaches, widely proclaimed as International Women's Year, Americans must deal with those inequities that still linger as barriers to the full participation of women in our Nation's life. We must also strengthen and support laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex.
Now, Therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all Americans to observe August 26, 1974, as Women's Equality Day, with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I further urge Americans to consider the essential role of women in our society and their contribution to our economic, social and political well-being. As a Republic dedicated to liberty and justice for all, this Nation cannot deny equal status to women.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-ninth.
GERALD R. FORD