Tuesday, August 18, 2015

95th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote!

95 years ago today, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. Prior to the ratification, states were granted the capacity to determine what metrics qualified citizens eligible to vote and most states used such allowance to disenfranchise women and deny their suffrage. Amendment XIX nullified the ruling of the Supreme Court case Minor v. Happersett which had stated that the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply to a woman’s right to vote.

Congressionally approved and submitted for ratification in 1919, the amendment acted as the aggregate of the efforts of the women’s suffrage movement, a movement that would later be known as the first wave of the women’s movement. 

As a groundbreaking victory lauded in history, the Nineteenth Amendment would be the first step in a long process of fully integrating women into the American political landscape. Finally, women were given a voice.

While it is incredible to note how far we’ve come and see that in less than a century we are able to witness female political efficacy evolve from complete disenfranchisement to women today holding some of the most important political offices (both elected and appointed) we have yet to reach the pinnacle of what would be true equality -- a political parity that correlates with the gender demography of our country. America is often viewed as a champion of progress and modernity yet we lag behind industrialized, Western counterparts in our failure to have successfully elected a female head of state and the pitiable minority of women in Congress.

We must continue to promote and empower women on every level politically; to forge ahead in carving out a place for women in the political arena, and to render women’s issues as an important and critical topic that cannot be ignored by government. In doing so, we can most appropriately celebrate this anniversary.