We all know July 4th as a national holiday, but what about June 4th? One month before we light the fireworks and grill, let’s remember another momentous turning point in history: the 19th Amendment was passed on June 4, 1919, guaranteeing women the right to vote.
Yes! I, as a woman, have the right to vote, but… don’t bring out the party hats and champagne quite yet.
In 2015, I, as a woman, still have to worry about my boss’s religion because he can now legally decide whether or not I can access birth control; I still have to worry about finances because I only make $0.77 for every dollar a man earns (and I have it easy because I’m white; women of color make far less in comparison); I still have to decide between working towards a promotion or having children and taking time off; I still have to worry about how to pay bills during unpaid maternity leave if I take it; afterwards, I’ll have to worry about financing childcare; I still worry about being sexually assaulted and watching my male attacker face slim to no punishment. I still have a lot to worry about as a woman in 2015!
For 95 years women have had the opportunity to vote our country towards justice and equality—and we’re still not even close to equity. To this day, women are not considered equal citizens under the Constitution because the necessary 38 states did not ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. So, I’m left asking the question, if women have voting power then why are we still living in a male-dominated lock-and-key society?
I think we’re still stuck in 1920. The Pew Research Center reported that in 1923, just three years after women were granted the right to vote, less than half of eligible female voters came to the polls, “In the researchers’ sample of non-voters, women outnumbered men by more than two to one.” The top reasons for female absence were cited as political apathy and a belief that only men should engage in politics.
Although women have started to show up to elections in greater numbers, the societal stigmas and pressure for women to sit down, shut up, and cook dinner are still winning. The progress made by the feminists of the 1960’s and 1970’s made things better for women; it gave women a bit of breathing room—but it wasn’t enough. We deserve better! Women can determine elections, therefore we can determine our leaders, and determine our laws.
And now the Call To Action:
To all self-identified women: your vote is your power. Your vote can save our country from gynoticians, injustice, blinding inequality, and staggering financial ruin! Now is the time to register to vote and take a detailed inspection of your life. What’s not right? What’s keeping you down? Find your core issues and find a candidate who will construct and govern a community that you’re excited about and proud to be a part of. Better yet, get involved with a campaign and get everyone around you to vote! I implore you, join me in exercising the full strength of the 19th Amendment in all future elections (yes, even midterms). Vote for candidates who will guarantee and safeguard a better future for all women and girls!