By: Julia Tuck
It has been almost 100 years since the 19th Amendment, the right for women’s suffrage, has been passed and ratified. There have been such great strides by women in the recent decades that I am proud to also be a part of the progression of women arising to power and defying gender stereotypes. It is inspiring for me, as a young woman myself, to soon be voting next year as it will be centennial celebration of women gaining the right to vote in elections. I am also glad that women have been speaking up and protesting for what they believe is unjust, such as with the Women’s marches and “Me Too” movement which has swept across the nation. It is amazing to see that women from all backgrounds are now being heard and respected as true contributors to society and an asset to humanity for more than just appearances.
In remembrance of the 19th Amendment, it is first important to understand the immense efforts taken by women to get there. The woman suffrage movement actually began in 1848, when a women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. The Seneca Falls meeting was not the first in support of women’s rights, but suffragists later viewed it as the meeting that launched the suffrage movement. For the next 50 years, woman
suffrage supporters worked to educate the public about the validity for the enfranchisement of women. Under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and other women’s rights pioneers, suffragists circulated petitions and lobbied Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to enfranchise women. The 19th Amendment was then ratified on August 18, 1920 and has since served as a milestone for women. Nearly 100 years later, we have a record number of women running for the presidency. And on the centennial of suffrage, we’ll be less than three months away from potentially electing one of them to sit behind the Resolute Desk. The women’s suffrage movement has not only inspired the next generations of voters, but also serves as a major marking point in history for women as the point of speaking up against the restriction placed upon them from society.
As I now reflect on the efforts of women in the recent decades to defy their gender roles, which I have learned through my classes, I cannot be prouder to see how the trailblazers of history have shaped the world around me. Although equality is not complete for all facets of careers for women, there has been great forward progress made from the starting point. And this is not the end. I am confident that as I and other feminists help make positive change for women, there will be less iniquities fostered as a result and there will finally be a place free of prejudice and stigmas. But until that day, we women will continue to fight the battle that was started ages ago by our mothers, our sisters, our legacy. As Susan B. Anthony once said, “I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.”