THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE ON WOMEN'S EQUALITY DAY AND THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT
Eighty years ago today, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, making women's suffrage the law of the land. The President has named this Women's Equality Day and it provides us with an opportunity to commemorate the courageous efforts of countless brave women and men who changed our nation's laws and led the charge for women's equality. I am especially proud of the historic role that my home state of Tennessee played in the ratification of this landmark amendment.
The fight for women's equality has not been easy and progress has been slow. It was not until the mid-19th century that women were given the right by many states to own property and to sign contracts independent of their spouses. In 1920, the Constitution was amended to allow women the right to vote. The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, ensuring women the same salary for performing the same jobs as men and 1964 marks the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which made employment discrimination based on gender illegal. Most recently, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 assures female students and athletes an equal opportunity in education and sports.
There is still much work to be done. Barriers to true women's equality remain and we must continue to fight the wage gap that persists between men and women by supporting the President's Equal Pay Initiative and by calling on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
I am proud to be part of an Administration that announced the creation of a new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Equal Pay Task Force that will empower EEOC field staff with the tools they need to thoroughly investigate charges of pay discrimination and to take appropriate action when such discrimination occurs. The President has also included in his FY 2001 budget an initiative that would allow the National Science Foundation to provide $20 million in grants to post secondary institutions and other organizations to promote the full participation of women in science and technology.
I thank all citizens who have helped to highlight this very important day and I commend the efforts of all who continue to fight for equal opportunity for all our citizens.