Tag Archives: International Women's Day

Sacrifice, Suffrage, and the Struggle for ERA: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2020

By Sabrina Völz

2020 marks the 100th anniver­sary of the 19th Amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion that grant­ed Amer­i­can women the right to vote. That is cer­tain­ly rea­son to cel­e­brate! But before you break open a bot­tle of sparkling wine, let’s review a few facts so we can put that momen­tous achieve­ment into con­text for our read­ers less famil­iar with U.S. history.

Suf­frage, the right to vote, was not extend­ed to women at the same time it was grant­ed to blacks in 1870. The first for­mal attempt to pass an amend­ment for woman suf­frage – and there would be many – was intro­duced in 1878. For the next 40 years, that amend­ment was put to a vote in each ses­sion of Con­gress. Yes, 40 years! Let that sink in for a while…. Then, in 1918, the 19th Amend­ment final­ly passed the House and the Sen­ate in the fol­low­ing year and was rat­i­fied on August 26, 1920. But these are just a few of the details:

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After that long strug­gle, how­ev­er, many women did not actu­al­ly take advan­tage of their right to vote in the 1920 and 1924 elec­tions. Appar­ent­ly, they thought they already had achieved equal rights. Does that sound famil­iar? It should. It is exact­ly what some of the peo­ple who oppose the Equal Rights Amend­ment are say­ing in 2020.

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