Women have come a long way in 100 years. Thanks to Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a host of determined women right here in the Mississippi/St. Croix River Valley, women have the right to vote.
Gaining that power integral to representative democracy led to women holding public office, gaining the right to divorce without forfeiting their children, owning and controlling property, having the ability to attend college and have careers and, thus, achieving independence.
Yet for as far as they have come in a century, women have further to go.
Today as we release Passing the Sash, our second RiverTown Premium Edition exclusive to subscribers, we introduce you to Flat Susan B. We invite you to download, print and take her with you — to work, to suffrage anniversary events, to rallies, to church and to the polls.
Kids’ play? Hardly.
Consider that before U.S. women gained the right to vote, they were either denied it or actually lost it. New York state rescinded women’s right to vote in 1777. Massachusetts did the same two years later and New Hampshire in 1784. Ironically, that was one year after America won independence from Great Britain.
By 1787, the U.S. Constitutional Convention placed voting qualifications in the hands of the states. As one colony after another ratified joining the United States, women in all states except New Jersey lost the right to vote. That state followed suit in 1807.
Little wonder that suffragettes through the generations took to the streets. They finally persuaded enough U.S. congressmen to pass 19th Amendment in 1919 and then enough men in states across the country to ratify that amendment Aug. 26, 1920.
At work, women still don’t have equal pay for equal work. They all too often face sexual harassment.
In politics, women represent slightly more than half the U.S. population, yet female representatives make up just under 24% of Congress. While women have yet to win the highest elected office in the land, they also have never held the highest state office in Minnesota or Wisconsin … or Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
As subscribers will read in Passing the Sash, the World Economic Forum in Switzerland measures the gap between men and women at 28%. The organization estimates that the current rate of change will bring U.S. women gender equality in another 208 years.
The United Nations Human Rights Council made clear in 2018: “No country in the world has successfully eliminated discrimination against women or achieved full equality."
Anthony and others took us part of the way. Now it’s up to us to step up because the journey to freedom for all — men and women, boys and girls — never ends.