It's the 100th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote - Where's the Party?

by Julie Graber | on 26 Aug 2020

I was supposed to be in Philadelphia on August 26.

There was going to be a big celebration - one of many across the nation. It’s the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th amendment - the day that women finally secured the right to vote. We’ve been talking about for this anniversary for years. It’s was going to be a very big deal - parties, parades, probably even fireworks. 

But nothing about 2020 has been as we expected. And instead of big parties we’ve got virtual get-togethers and webcasts. If we can find the time to tune in.

Maybe it’s as it should be - women can’t stop for celebrations, especially these days. There are kids attending virtual school in the next room and Zoom meetings to juggle. Life has been turned upside down, and per usual, women are the ones trying to keep it all together. And if there was going to celebrations, we would have had to organize them. There’s just not enough bandwidth.

The day shouldn’t pass, however, without remembering what it took to secure women’s right to vote: almost 150 years of advocacy spanning multiple generations, pickets at the White House, 200+ women serving as much as six weeks in jail, hunger strikes, force feedings, and an amendment to the Constitution, ratified by 36 states. I had no idea what women went through in the fight to win the vote until I saw “Iron Jawed Angels” in 2004. I haven’t missed an election since. 

Maybe the best way to celebrate the day is to for each of us to make that vow - the vow to never miss an election, to always exercise our right to vote. Take time today to check your voter registration. Apply for a mail-in ballot if that’s the best way to go this year. When you’ve voted, track your ballot to make sure it is counted. 

And make sure you teach your daughters as well as your sons the importance of voting and political awareness. In the past, girls have received less political socialization than boys - it’s time to change that reality as well. We have a right to be heard, to be at the table. 

Happy Anniversary, 19th amendment. See you November 3.

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