Tag Archives: 19th Amendment

Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote Book Review

The road to justice is rarely short and never easy.

Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote, by Ellen Carol DuBois, was published last year. The book tells the story of the first leg of the American feminist movement in the mid to late 19th century and early 20th century. It starts around the time of the Civil War. Though women in the United States are legally disenfranchised, they are vocal members of the Abolitionist Movement. When black men get the vote and women are still barred from the ballet box, the fire is lit. Led by foremothers such as Lucretia Mott and Sojourner Truth, the reader is taken through the difficult journey that led to the 19th Amendment.

I loved this book. It was one of those history books that has an appeal beyond the expected academic and feminist audience. It was readable and accessible without resorting to a list of dry facts. I also appreciated the spotlight on the African-American women who were just as important to the movement, but were ignored by their white peers.

I recommend it.

P.S. Today is Equal Pay Day, a timely reminder that the battle for real equality is far from over.

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Today is the Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

This image is not mine, merely borrowed.

The core of any legitimate democracy is the right to vote. On the surface, voting is a simple act. But if one were to dig a little deeper, they would see that voting is much more than simply casting your ballot on election day.

Today is the 100 anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In the span of history, 100 years is not a long time. But in the history of the fight for female equality in the United States and around the world, 100 years means the difference between being chattel and beating treated as a full human being.

The women of that generation saw voting as only the first step. They understood then, as we do now, that gaining the vote was only the first step in a long path ahead of them.

Iron Jawed Angels (2004)

Given our breathtaking progress in the past century, there is a part of me that is bursting with pride. But another part of me knows that legislation cannot wash away centuries of sexism and double standards. That requires education and changing of hearts and minds.

Though there are many issues that must be dealt with (including the fact that women of color are still fighting for their rights), the fact that we have come as far as we have is nothing to sneeze at.

Mrs. America (2020)

Ladies, we know that today is a celebration. But we also know that there much more work to be done. Today, we take a breath and a moment to enjoy the progress that has been made. But tomorrow, the work begins anew.

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She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man’s World Book Review

American women have a lot to celebrate. In the nearly 100 years since the 19th Amendment was added to the Constitution, we have made leaps and bounds towards equality. But for every step we take forward, there are two steps back.

Feminist and political advisor Jennifer Palmieri published her new book last month. Entitled She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man’s World, the book states unequivocally that women can only go so far by playing the rules of men. In order to break the glass ceiling once and for all, we have to blaze a new trail of our own making.

I really loved this book. It is short, sweet, to the point and frankly inspiring. For those of us afraid to step out of the tried and true, Ms. Palmieri gives the reader the kick in the proverbial behind needed to get out there and change the world.

I recommend it.

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The Seneca Falls Convention Was Only The Beginning

Social movements, especially those whose focus is civil or social rights are rarely, if ever, declared victorious in a short amount of time. Recent American history tell us that that it takes years, if not decades or centuries for these movements to achieve their goals.

Earlier this week was the anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention. Held in Seneca Falls in 1848, it is the seminal event the Feminist movement in the the United States.

Next month, we celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment.

Looking back through history, I am amazed and awe inspired on the progress that not just American women, but women in general have made. I am from a generation in which a woman working outside of the home in jobs that are not traditionally “female” is completely normal. Women of my generation, if they marry, are marrying later in life. Our careers and our education is just as important as having a husband and children.

However, there are still battles to be fought. Women still earn less than male colleagues with the same experience and job title. Our ability to access safe and legal abortions is tenuous at best and depends on a number of factors. The chance of being sexually assaulted and/or harassed is still too high for my comfort. In my home state of New York, rape intoxication loophole has yet to be filled.

This generation of feminists stands on the shoulders of brave women who understood that the future is female. We honor and remember the gains they made, but that does not mean that our job is done. Until we have true equality, we must continue on the path that they paved for us starting in 1848.

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It Would Have Been Nice to Say “Madam President” in 2020

If nothing else, America is an idealistic nation. We are dreamers and fighters, we do not give up because we are told no.

We are also a nation that can be hypocritical.

August 18th is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. In the nearly 100 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment, American women (and women across the world) have achieved what our grandmothers and great-grandmothers could have only dreamed of.

But with every battle that we have won, there is still much more work that is required of us if there is to be true equality between the sexes.

I would have liked very much to use the term “Madam President” this year. But there will be no women in either party on the ticket come this fall.

Dnc 2016 GIF by Democratic National Convention - Find & Share on GIPHY

In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s loss to you know who was heartbreaking. This year, we had brilliant and capable women who might have done a bang up job as President. Senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar had all of the qualities one would want in a President.

Of all of the female nominees, Senator Elizabeth Warren came the closest. Some in the press are arguing that it was sexism that ultimately doomed her campaign. I can’t disagree with their arguments, even if she was not my first choice for President.

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Though it is indisputable that these women will forever have a place in American history, it still does not dull the frustration of not being able to say “Madam President” in 2020.

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If it Comes Down to Bernie vs. Biden, I Vote for Biden

Today is Super Tuesday. Voters in fourteen states and American Samoa will have their say as to which Democratic nominee they want going against you know who in the fall.

As of earlier this week, both former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. After the Vice President won by a large margin in South Carolina over the weekend, it seems that we are headed for a showdown between him and Senator Bernie Sanders.

As much as I cringe that no matter how the vote goes, we will still have another old white man sitting in the highest office in the land, Biden is our best choice. It would have been nice to refer to Senator Klobuchar as Madam President (especially that this year is the centenary of the 19th amendment). But some things are not meant to be, as much as we would wish it to go our way.

The reason I stand behind Vice President Biden is that he has the best chance of getting you know who out of office. My fear is that if Senator Sanders wins the nomination, it will be the impetus that the right needs to give you know who another four years in office.

It’s only 8:50 on the East Coast. We still have a few hours to go before the final numbers are revealed. But I have a feeling (and perhaps a little hope) that it will be Vice President Biden representing the Democrats in the fall.

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Will the Equal Rights Amendment Be Ratified in My Time?

In 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced to Congress. It is designed to level to playing field for all Americans, regardless of sex. For nearly 100 years, this amendment has been bouncing around the halls of power and throughout the public consciousness.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In the century since American women were given the right to vote, our achievements are nothing short of mind blowing. But those achievements only came by way of the hard work of generations of women.

As of this week, it appears that the ERA is one step closer to becoming the law of the land.

We live in a country and a world in which women are still second class citizens. For all of our achievements, there is still a long way to go until we are truly equal. Ratifying the ERA and writing it into the Constitution would go a long way to ensure that American women are truly and completely equal in the eyes of the law.

The question is, will our lawmakers have the balls to finally stand up and do what is right? Or will they put their put their heads in the sand and pretend that its still 1950?

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How Long Must We Wait? : Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson, and the Fight for the Right to Vote Book Review

It is sometimes said that certain people come into your life at a certain time for a reason. In the early years of the 20th century, feminist activist Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson came into each other’s political lives and ended up changing the course of American history.

The new book, How Long Must We Wait? : Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson, and the Fight for the Right to Vote, by Tina Cassidy, brings together the lives and political stories of two giants of American history: 1st wave feminist Alice Paul and Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States. President Wilson was polite to the women who came to him, asking for his assistance in securing the right to vote, but did not follow-up with lawmakers. Feeling frustrated with the lack of action, Alice went via the route of picketing and hunger strikes in prison until President Wilson had no choice but to act.

I really loved this book. While it may seem a little to Academic, it is actually an invigorating read. Both Paul and President Wilson are brought to life with vivid imagery and an almost cinematic retelling of their personal and political histories. The book makes these historical figures seem alive, vibrant and relevant a century after their political battle.

I recommend it.

 

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Thoughts On Kirsten Gillibrand’s 2020 Presidential Election Announcement

Yesterday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced that she was throwing her hat into the ring for the 2020 Presidential election on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

I am absolutely thrilled with this announcement. Not just because she is my Senator, but because I think (and hope) that she has a shot of winning the party nomination and getting a certain person out of office. It’s about time that America caught up with the rest of the world and elected a woman to lead us. Unlike the current occupant in Washington D.C., she understands the needs of the average American. She is not just saying what we want to hear, she is saying what has to be done to move this country forward. She is a woman balancing a marriage, raising children, working and dealing with what we all deal with.

If I am being honest, I don’t believe that Elizabeth Warren would be able to win the election. I believe that Senator Gillibrand would be able to win the nomination and the election.

Next year is the centenary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. To know that Americans have elected a woman into the highest political office in the land a century after American women were given the vote would be more than a dream come true. It would finally shatter the glass ceiling and prove once and for all that women are much more than we are made out to be.

Only time will tell, but I am crossing fingers that fall, we will be able to say President Elect Gillibrand.

 

 

 

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The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote Book Review

Human beings can be very stubborn creatures. It’s very hard to change when we are set in our ways. Especially when it comes to social justice movements and enfranchising those who are disenfranchised.

The new non fiction book, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, by Elaine Weiss details the final nail-biting days that lead to the ratification of the 19th amendment. In the summer of 1920, 35 states have ratified the 19th amendment. 12 have either rejected the amendment or have abstained from voting. Only 1 more state is needed to add the amendment to the Constitution, and that is Tennessee. Groups on both sides of the argument are racing to Tennessee, using whatever means they have to influence lawmakers. For the suffragists, the vote is everything they have been working for more than a half century. For the anti-suffragists, it means the destruction of the family and home, if women win the right to vote. It’s going to be a battle to finish line, one which will forever change American history.

 

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because Ms. Weiss imbues the facts with intensity, taking the viewer on a heart pounding ride. I also very much appreciated that she spent time on African-American women, who were denied the vote because of skin color and sex. It can be read as a traditional history book, but the issues that our fore mothers were dealing with a century ago are not so far off from the issues we are dealing with today.

I absolutely recommend it.

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