Pandemic. Murder Hornets. Derecho. Wildfires. Election Year. 2020 has been a year to remember in more ways than one. Hardships have crossed the paths of many, however it has made the good things that have happened much more memorable, and hopefully made some much more thankful for what we take for granted in our daily lives.
Whether that be certain freedoms, responsibilities or particular rights, our world is constantly changing in many ways. However, one thing that changed years ago and has remained the same is women’s right to vote.
Something that has stayed the same for many years, 100 to be exact, started in the mid 1800’s as a process that would not necessarily be a simple one.
For years women strived to reach the standard of being treated equally as men were. Strived to be given the same opportunities, the same freedoms and same privileges as men.
One of the first turning points for women was the Seneca Falls Convention, where five women who were active in the abolitionist movement organized the conference and called for changes to be made.
The women included Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Mary M’Clintock, Martha Coffin Wright and Jane Hunt. Together, they conducted a conference where nearly 300 people gathered.
The course of the two day conference included some humor, lectures on law and a lot of information and discussion was shared about women’s rights and their roles in society. From these discussions, a document was formed and named the Declaration of Sentiments. This document contained a plethora of ideas and resolutions for women’s rights including, “that woman is man’s equal—was intended to be so by the Creator, and the highest good of the race demands that she should be recognized as such.”
Nearly all of the concepts on the Declaration of Sentiments were agreed upon, however, a heated discussion arose when the topic of a woman’s right to vote was presented. In the end, the topic was included and 100 attendees (68 women, 32 men) signed the document. Little did they know, this would be the start to a revolution working to empower women across the United States of America.
Protests, strikes and parades to support women on their journey to equality slowly transpired across the area.
Organizations and groups to support women’s rights were formed, and the members were persistent.
Songs and chants were written to share the intentions of the protestors. Signs were constructed to share how they felt.
Some activists that were deemed radical took happenings of the time to the next level and were penalized with jail time or fines for their actions after breaking laws put into place. These women were often put to work in prisons when they refused to pay their fines as part of their suffrage movements. Some were beaten for their behavior and few even went on hunger strikes to show their dedication, this resulted in prison guards force feeding those on strike with a tube inserted down their throat they would not die of starvation. It was a process that required a leap of faith
It was a process that required a leap of faith for those that were willing to join in comradery with fellow women, each gathering making subtle progress.
Every time headway was made, members of organizations and women across the United States did a little leap of joy. However, it wasn’t until the spring of 1920 that activists finally started to see the outcome of the effort they had been putting in.
May 21, 1920 Congress passed the amendment for women’s right to vote and two weeks later the Senate followed. August 18 the amendment gained three fourths of its approval from the states, and August 26, 1920, the ratification was certified by the Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby, finally granting women the right to vote after what was almost a decade of protesting.
Though the process was long, and proved to be dramatic at times, the women who worked for the freedoms we enjoy today were diligent in pursuing their goals to establish a basis for current women’s rights. With America’s ever changing laws and regulations shedding light where need be, women live a completely different, more modern lifestyle than ever before. Though some believe there is still a large gap to be closed between equality, new opportunities are always on the horizon.