This month celebrates the centennial of U.S. women’s right to vote.
Seventy-two years. That’s how long it took from the first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1848, until the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was signed into law on August 26, 1920. Throughout the month of August, we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the suffragist movement’s incredible achievement: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
The women’s vote centennial is being honored across the U.S. with myriad events that culminate on August 26. I’ve included a couple links below to brush up on your history to fully appreciate how far we’ve come and how much work remains. As the female founder of my real estate firm, I deeply respect these historic figures for the road they paved for me and other women to follow their dreams, first by being able to cast a ballot. In poring over the links’ comprehensive timelines and priceless photos, I discovered so many details beyond the basic lessons we learn in school about iconic suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Of all places, I never thought Wyoming, then a territory, would be the first place in the U.S. to pass a women’s suffrage measure in 1869, and that Colorado would be the first state to adopt and amendment granting women the right to vote in 1893. (Even though the movement began in New York, it wouldn’t be until 1917 that it passed there.) Other interesting details are that suffragists were the first protestors to picket at the White House; 32 men were among the signees to declare the nascent movement back then in Seneca Falls, and several notable Black suffragists including Harriet Tubman and Ida B. Wells-Barnett contributed greatly to the cause. With another election year upon us, I’m grateful for their tireless efforts.
An in-depth resource to find out more about nationwide events is the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative (link below). This week features virtual lectures by top professors on the subject, online tours of exhibits, women-themed film screenings, a virtual Equality Weekend in Seneca Falls, livestreamed concerts from Nashville, a historic reenactment of Stanton circa 1866, and many more great activities. The website also provides educational materials on where we stand today. For example, women make up less than 20 percent of elected officials in Congress, and only one in three eligible women voted in the last presidential election. As you can see, we still have a lot of work to do!