Suffragette Reflection: The Centennial Anniversary on the Nineteenth Amendment
By Serena Tartaglia
It’s been one hundred years since the nineteenth amendment was passed in America, and during an election year, as we reflect on our values and progress as a society in the past four years, we must acknowledge those who made it possible.
Suffragists like Susan B Anthony and Ida B Wells faced public scorn, multiple arrests, hunger strikes where they were force-fed in prison, even the word “suffragette” was used to mock them, until they reclaimed it and used it in their favor.
The ratification of the nineteenth amendment in August 1920 was the first step in achieving true equality for women with men.
Thus, began the domino effect for women’s rights in the twentieth century.
The next barrier broke in 1960, when the first birth control pill was introduced by the Food and Drug administration, giving women the freedom to control if, and when, they have children.
In 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act.
The same year, Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, a book about how some American housewives felt confined by their roles as wives and mothers.
Divorce was uncommon at that time, as were women working outside of the home.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 gave women of color the right to vote, and the 1970s social movement was called “The Women’s Liberation Movement” for a reason.
It destroyed some of the final legal obstacles that women faced in true equality with men.
In 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX into law, which made sex discrimination in the workplace illegal.
The following year, Roe v Wade gave women the right to abortion, and granted them the right to make vital decisions about their body.
In 1974, a woman could finally get her own credit card without her husband’s signature. It was not until 1978 that a woman could not be fired just for being pregnant.
In 1973, women were allowed to serve on a jury in all fifty states.
Spousal rape was legal until 1993.
In 1994, Senator Joe Biden wrote, and President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act, which provides funding for programs that help domestic violence victims.
However, the fight for equality continues today.
In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which eliminates the normal 180/300-day charge filing period for pay discrimination claims.
2016, Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for president because he did not want Hillary Clinton to be “coronated” as president.
She became the first woman to be nominated for president in a major political party.
Roe v Wade is under constant attack from Republicans who want to dismantle Planned Parenthood clinics, keep women in poverty, and take away their right to choose what happens to their bodies.
In the hundred years since the first women made their voices heard in that ballot box, I will do what they gave their lives to do: vote. Will you?