March 10, 2017
Women and Politics
“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” – – Malala Yousafzai
For centuries women played a steady vital role in the growth of American society and politics although they originally had no rights to property, no child custody rights, and no access to fair wages. To win this battle, women such as Anne Hutchinson, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Church Terrell, Betty Friedman, and Mary Ann Shadd Cary had to step forward through passive actions.
“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.” – – Susan B. Anthony
During the 17th and 18th Century women were considered property so far that laws had to be enacted to prevent abuse. Women had no legal recourse for any matter unless taken up by their husband or male relatives. Women were treated as minors regardless of wealth and marital status while white males upon reaching the age of 21 had the legal right to vote. We, as women in America, can never return to this status nor can we allow others to return to yester years ways. The fight for respect, equality, and change had originated through women to end slavery starting in the church where women had great influence. Women’s suffrage had in the process gained to champions Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who pushed passionately for the right to vote. The Fourteenth Amendment was a start but it wasn’t until millions of women joined the fight for political inclusion and privilege that the Nineteenth Amendment came to forbid states from disallowing a person’s right to vote based on gender.
July 19-20th 1848 saw the first Women Convention in Seneca Falls, New York to discuss the rights of women and how to create resolution to present to government. In 1878, the Susan B. Anthony Amendment was introduced to Congress presenting the unconstitutionality of the denial of a woman’s right to vote but met great defeat after its introduction. Forty years later, two women led the fight directly to the White House in quiet protest but with harsh consequences to their bodies and mind but saw later success in the form of the 19th Amendment.
“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.” – – Michelle Obama
Over 124 years later with the impact of segregation and voting rights, Shirley Chisolm would be the first African American woman to secure the Democratic nomination for President of the United States and Barbara Jordan would become the first African American congressman of the United States Senate. Forty-four years later Hillary Clinton would secure the democratic nomination for president and officially put “cracks in the glass ceiling” for women. Although, the glass ceiling was not shattered, January 22, 2017, women do and will continue their quest to run for political office.
“Women Rights are Human Rights” — FRMR Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
During this Women’s Month, we must remember how far we have come on this winding, rugged, and often treacherous road we continue to travel. Women are still fighting for seats at the table, equal pay, and the ability to voice our health care concerns. We must use our past achievements to continue to build upon our foundation for women’s rights in this great country in which we live.