The US is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote.
Suffragists began their organized fight for women’s equality in 1848 when they demanded the right to vote during the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
It’s been 100 years since our country confirmed what we already knew
Alice Paul unfurls a banner from the balcony of the National Women’s Party headquarters, celebrating the ratification of the 19 Amendment by Tennessee.
he observance of Women’s Equality Day on Monday marks the 99th anniversary of the day the 19th Amendment, extending the vote to women, entered the Constitution in 1920. These days, as the centennial year gets underway, I keep a Votes For Women sash in my suitcase, ready to slip on if period attire is required.
That moment was the culmination of a long struggle, the themes of which are timely—voting rights, women’s rights, citizenship rights and, inevitably, racism. (For black women in the Jim Crow southern states, as for Asian and Native American women, the promise of the 19th Amendment could not be realized until much later.) Likewise, the lessons we can learn from the movement are especially valuable today.
Tennessee was the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment, on Aug. 18, 1920,
Voting rights are not—and must not—be a partisan issue, I continued; they are a stress-test measuring the health of our democracy. We must make it easier—not harder—to vote.
It’s a sad mockery to be celebrating the 19th Amendment’s expansion of women’s rights and voting rights while slashing those rights today. This needs to be said out loud.
Unfortunately in the past decade, 25 states have enacted harsh restrictions on voter participation, with a surge of suppression tactics emerging from statehouses after the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling that gutted enforcement provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Another wave of restrictive laws has followed since the 2016 election.