100th Anniversary of 19th Amendment

(Marc Nozell / Flickr)

On June 4, 1919 congress passed the 19th Amendment which was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920. The 19th Amendment granted American women the right to vote. 

American women were denied many natural rights since the inception of the U.S. For example, women were not allowed to work and were expected to stay home and do house duties.

In 1869 the National Woman’s Suffrage Association was formed. The women’s suffrage movement was not recognized at a national level until July of 1848 when the first women’s rights convention was held at Seneca Falls, New York. 

At this convention, there were over 300 people including many women and few men. Activist and famed abolitionist Fredrick Douglass attended as well. 

The women’s suffrage movement lasted about 75 years on a national level until they were finally recognized as smart enough to be able to vote. This association was also very supportive of the 15th Amendment which granted African Americans the right to vote. 

By March of 1920, 35 states had approved the amendment. Over time other states started to follow. The last state that granted women the right to vote was Mississippi on March 22, 1984.

As women approach the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment let’s take a look back on what we have accomplished since then. 

A women’s suffrage headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. (Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons)

The women’s suffrage movement propelled gender equality, which ultimately created feminism. It brought women out of the household. Women started to work more and continue their education in hopes of providing for their family one day. Women now make up 58% of college undergraduates.

They made Americans get serious about gender discrimination in the workforce and started protecting women from sexual harassment in the workplace. 

This ultimately pushed for women to work in fields that are predominantly occupied by men. Some examples of these fields include politics, law, research, medical fields, construction and many others.

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In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film, “The Hurt Locker.” Viola Davis was the first African American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in “How To Get Away with Murder” in 2015

Viola Davis’ acceptance speech after winning the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in 2015. (Television Academy / YouTube)

In 2016 America saw the first female presidential nominee of a major party, Hillary Clinton. 

America avoided gender discrimination in sports as well by creating Title IX. This gave women the power of knowing colleges will support their athletics. 

The Women’s National soccer team is still fighting for pay equality after winning four world cup finals. All 28 female players sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for being paid less than the men’s team. 

During their victory parade in New York on July, 10, several members of the U.S. women’s soccer team took to the podium to discuss the fight for equal pay. (Washington Post / YouTube)

Not only did the ratification of the 19th Amendment impact America, but it also shed light in other countries on the treatment of women. 

Global feminism demanded equal rights to end violence against women entirely. Women are still making great strides to receive equality globally. 

The Dayton Metro Library is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The Main Library on 215 E. Third St. will have two exhibits on display for free. 

The first exhibit is the “Suffragists: And They Persisted!” Art Quilt Show from June 1-July 31. The second exhibit is the “19th Amendment: Towards Equality for All” from June 18-July 31.

Nikki Neumann

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