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It wasn’t really all that long ago when the women’s suffrage movement took place. In fact, 100 years ago, women finally received their legal right to vote. This is a battle that took activists and reformers nearly 100 years in itself to win, and it wasn’t easy.
By now, you probably know the basic history of the women’s suffrage movement, but what all happened to get to where we are today? We’re diving into a short version of the history of voting for women and why it is so important for you to use your rights to make a change.
There will never be complete equality until women themselves help to make the laws and elect the lawmakers.
Women’s Rights Movement Begins
The campaign for women’s suffrage began in the decades before the Civil War. During the 1820s and 30s, many reform groups started popping up, in which women played a prominent role. It’s also good to note here that the idea of true “Womanhood” began to break down as women started revolting against the norm. This was the idea that only “true” women were a submissive wife and mother whose only concern was the home and family.
Seneca Falls Convention
In 1848, a group of abolitionists activists gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to discuss the problem of women’s rights. Thus, the conversation of women and deserving of their own political identities arose.
At the Seneca Falls Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments was brought up and read, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
By this, they also touched on the fact that women should have the right to vote.
The Progressive Campaign for Suffrage
In 1890, the National American Woman Suffrage Association was formed. It was a little different this time around with a new approach. Instead of arguing that women deserved the same rights as men because both are “equal”, the new generation of activists argued that women deserved their vote because they were different from men.
Winning the Vote at Last
Starting in 1910, some states in the West began to extend the vote to women for the first time in almost 20 years. But even so, southern and eastern states resisted. A splinter group called the National Woman’s Party emerged during this time and focused on more radical, militant tactics aimed at winning dramatic publicity for their cause.
World War I eventually slowed the suffragists' campaign but helped them advance their argument. Women started pushing the war effort, participating in the fight, and pointing out that they were just as worthy of citizenship and rights as men.
Finally, on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed. On November 2 of that year, more than 8 million women across the United States voted in elections for the first time.
Now that you know a little history (and we hope a lot of that sank in giving you a new perspective on voting), we’re going to dive into why it is so important for women to use this right in the upcoming election and those beyond.
Why Women Should Vote
Aside from the very obvious reason being that most of our ancestors fought for us to have this right, there are a few others we want to shed light on. Why women should vote:
Because laws affect women as much as men.
Because there are men who are making laws that affect women that are being passed without consulting them.
Because over 8 million women in the U.S. are wage workers, and the conditions under which they work are controlled by law.
Because women have experience which would be helpful to legislation.
Because biologically women are built differently from men, which can bring a new perspective on lawmaking.
Because change can happen in numbers, and women have the power to make that change.
Because laws regarding children should include the women’s point of view.
Because many intelligent, hard-working women desire legislative positions.
Because it is for the common good of all.
With fewer than 80 days until Election Day, it’s important to make sure all of our friends, family members, and colleagues are aware of how they can do their part in voting. There are a lot of changes happening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so staying up to date with elections is important. Research, research, research...whether it is through Google searches or social media hashtags, there are so many resources out there to help better explain the voting climate.
That being said, making sure you’re registered to vote is the first step. Fret not, we found the perfect article by Marie Claire that details Voter Registration Deadlines state-by-state. Take a look and find out what it looks like in your state so you don’t miss out. Even though this list is strictly for the U.S., we encourage women everywhere to actively participate in voting. You have a voice and there’s no better time to make sure it is HEARD than NOW.
Women have come a long way, but there is still so much more work to be done. Please share this article with loved ones to spread the message!