Proclamation: Women's Equality Day, 2000 (8/26/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Abuja, Nigeria)

      For Immediate Release                          August 26, 2000

                     WOMEN'S EQUALITY DAY, 2000

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                           A PROCLAMATION

     In March of 1776, 4 months before the signing of the Declaration of
Independence, Abigail Adams sent a letter to her husband John in
Philadelphia, where he was participating in the Second Continental
Congress.  "...[I]n the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be
necessary for you to make," she wrote, "I desire you would Remember the
Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors."
Almost a century and a half would pass before her desire was realized with
the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Const7itution, guaranteeing
women's suffrage.

     The road to civic, economic, and social equality for women in our
Nation has been long and arduous, marked by frustrations and setbacks, yet
inspired by the courageous actions of many heroic Americans, women and men
alike.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucretia
Mott, Frederick Douglass, Lucy Stone -- these and so many others refused to
remain silent in the face of injustice.  Speaking out at rallies,
circulating pamphlets and petitions, lobbying State legislatures, risking
public humiliation and even incarceration, suffragists slowly changed the
minds of their fellow Americans and the laws of our Nation.

     Thanks to their efforts, by the mid-19th century some States
recognized the right of women to own property and to sign contracts
independent of their spouses.  In 1890, Wyoming became the first State to
recognize a woman's right to vote.  Thirty years later, the 19th Amendment
made women's suffrage the law of the land.  But it would take another 40
years to pass the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which promised women the same
salary for performing the same jobs as men, and the Civil Rights Act of
1964, which outlawed employment discrimination based on gender.
Another 8 years would pass before Title IX of the Education Amendments of
1972 assured American women equal opportunity in education and sports

     However, the promise of true equality has yet to be realized.  Despite
historic changes in laws and attitudes, a significant wage gap between men
and women persists, in traditional sectors as well as in emerging fields,
such as information tech-nology.  While employment of computer scientists,
programmers, and operators has increased at a breathtaking rate -- by 80
percent since 1983 -- fewer than one in three of these high-wage jobs is
filled by a woman.  A recent report by the Council of Economic Advisers
noted that, even after allowing for differences in education, age, and
occupation, the wage gap between men and women in high-technology
professions is still approximately 12 percent -- a gap similar to that
estimated in the labor market at large -- and that, in both the old economy
and the new, the gap is even wider for women of color.

     To combat unfair pay practices and to close the wage gap between men
and women once and for all, I have called on the Congress to support my
Administration's Equal Pay Initiative and to pass the Paycheck Fairness
Act.  And in May of this year, I announced the creation of a new Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Equal Pay Task Force to empower
EEOC field staff with the legal, technical, and investigatory support they
need to pursue charges of pay discrimination and to take appropriate action
whenever such discrimination occurs.  I have also proposed in my fiscal
2001 budget an initiative under which the National Science Foundation will
provide $20 million in grants to postsecondary institutions and other
organizations to promote the full participation of women in the science and
technology fields.

     Today, a new century lies before us, offering us a fresh opportunity
to make real the promise that Abigail Adams dreamed
of more than two centuries ago.  As we celebrate Women's Equality Day and
the 80th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, let us keep
faith with our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters by removing any
lingering barriers in their path to true equality.

     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, 2000, 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 twenty-sixth day
of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of
the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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