Obama declares August 26 "Women's Equality Day"

WASHINGTON Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:13pm EDT

A woman holds a U.S. flag while posing for a photo as she waits for Independence Day fireworks in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, July 4, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A woman holds a U.S. flag while posing for a photo as she waits for Independence Day fireworks in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, July 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama declared August 26 -- the 91st anniversary of the Constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote -- "Women's Equality Day" in a proclamation on Thursday.

"I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate the achievements of women and recommit ourselves to the goal of gender equality in this country," Obama stated in the proclamation, published by the White House.

Women today are closer to the equality sought by early women's rights advocates Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in a statement.

Women now represent one in four state legislators, 17 members of the Senate, three justices on the Supreme Court, 74 generals in the armed forces, and seven Cabinet-level positions in the Obama Administration, according to Solis.

"We've ascended to leadership positions across all walks of American life, but perhaps our greatest impact can be felt in the American workforce," she said.

"Today, we are a country drawing down from two wars and recovering from another great financial crisis, and once again it is women who are leading this country back."

But women still only make 81 cents on the dollar compared to men, Solis said.

In his proclamation, Obama said: "The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution tore down the last formal barrier to women's enfranchisement in our Nation and empowered America's women to have their voices heard in the halls of power."

"On the 91st anniversary of this landmark in civil rights, we continue to uphold the foundational American principles that we are all equal, and that each of us deserves a chance to pursue our dreams."

(Reporting by Molly O'Toole; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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