President's Equality Day Proclamation
Wed, 27 Aug 1997 12:41:56 -0400 (EDT)




Each year, on Women's Equality Day, we reflect on how far we have traveled on
our journey to make America live up to the ideals of justice and equality
articulated so powerfully in the Declaration of Independence, the
Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Few constitutional amendments have
affected that progress more profoundly than the 19th, which guarantees
American women the right to vote.

Looking back from today's vantage point, where women hold positions of
authority and responsibility at almost every level of government, it is hard
to imagine that, for almost a century and a half, women were barred from
exercising the most fundamental right of every democracy. There are women
still living among us who can remember a time when they were prevented, by
law, from having a role in shaping the destiny of their country and the
impact of government on their own and their families' lives. But thanks to
women and men of extraordinary courage and conviction, who waged for years a
determined campaign for women's suffrage, the 19th Amendment was ratified in
August of 1920 and opened the door for generations of American women to add
their vision and voices to our national discourse.

This year, we mark another milestone in the life of our democracy: the 25th
anniversary of the enactment of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Title IX, building on the spirit of the 19th Amendment, prohibits
discrimination against women in education and sports programs. For a
quarter-century, it has enabled American girls and women to make the most of
their abilities, to dream big dreams, and, more important, to achieve those
dreams. In large measure, because of the 19th Amendment and Title IX, our
Nation has reaped the rewards of women's talents, accomplishments, wisdom,
and perspective. In every activity and profession, in the home and outside -
as astronauts and professional athletes, as teachers and university
presidents, as farmers and firefighters, as caregivers, Cabinet members, and
Supreme Court Justices - women have made lasting contributions to the quality
of our lives and the strength of our democracy.

Today, as Americans engage in a serious and profoundly important dialogue on
the future of our multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural society, we do well
to remember that we are all immeasurably enriched when we choose the path of
inclusion and empowerment. Women's Equality Day and the anniversary of Title
IX remind us that by demanding an equal opportunity for every American, we
ensure a brighter future for all Americans.

NOW THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws
of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 26, 1997, as Women's Equality
Day. I call upon the citizens of our great Nation to observe this day with
appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of
August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and


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